After a disappointing loss against the Phoenix Suns, the Miami Heat were back in action on Friday. They took on the shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers were without Jarrett Allen and Caris Levert. Still, their length and size caused early problems for the Heat. They clogged the paint and played the passing lanes well early. However, the Heat picked up their defense in the second half and they were able to pull away. With the win, Miami moves to 45-23 for the regular season. Here are four takeaways from Friday’s win over Cleveland.
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Bam Powers the Heat
This was Bam Adebayo‘s first-time playing Cleveland this season. He missed the previous two meetings because of his thumb surgery. Adebayo was aggressive from the start. Most importantly, he was more patient with his finishes. There were multiple instances where we saw Adebayo hit his defender with a pump-fake before dunking. Adebayo dominated the paint throughout the whole game. He was a huge reason for Miami’s huge third-quarter run. Adebayo also ended up leading the team in field-goal attempts. This is the Adebayo the Heat like seeing. He finished with a game-high 30 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks.
Herro Helps the Offense Early
Miami got off to a quick 9-0 start against the Cavaliers. Then, the offense became stagnant. Cleveland’s help side defender was sagging off on P.J. Tucker, who has been struggling lately from three. Tucker continued to struggle from downtown and Miami’s offense went downhill. Then, Tyler Herro entered the game. As usual, Herro’s three-level scoring was essential in keeping the Heat afloat. Herro did a great job of surveying the floor and attacking the paint. This is very huge for Miami’s offense and will be essential come playoff time. However, Miami is going to need alternative options just in case Herro has an off night. Herro finished the game with 22 points.
Strus is Loose
With Caleb Martin out, it opened up minutes for Max Strus off the bench. Strus played terrific on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he did a good job of staying in front of his man. On one fast break, Strus single-handily stopped a Cavaliers player from scoring on him on the break. Offensively, he was hot from downtown. When Strus gets going, it often sparks a huge Heat run. Strus was 5-11 from downtown. When Martin comes back, Strus will likely be out of the rotation. But, if Miami needs a spark, they could put him in to help provide a spark. Strus ended the night with 17 points.
Oladipo Plays a Little More
Since his return, Miami has stuck to a 15-minute restriction for Victor Oladipo. On Friday, he played a few more minutes. Offensively, he’s still trying to adjust to the game and his team. The shooting efficiency isn’t there yet. However, he has shown some flashes of his playmaking skills. He was able to find Adebayo on a couple of feeds to the basket. Both players seem to play well together. Defensively, he’s been great as a help side defender. That’s certainly something he hasn’t struggled with since returning. Oladipo ended the night with five points in 18 minutes of action.
Next up: The Minnesota Timberwolves. The game tips off at 8 pm eastern.
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