The Miami Heat entered Monday’s game looking to end their four-game losing streak. Like three of their last four games, they played a team that was missing its best two players. The Sacramento Kings played without their top two guys and a few other key rotation players. Still, the Heat had business to take care of. And they did it in dominating fashion. Miami had complete control of the game from start to finish. With the win, they move to 48-28 for the season. Here are my takeaways from Monday’s win over the Kings.
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The Heat made a surprising move Monday by starting Max Strus, who turned 26 on this day. This change moved Duncan Robinson to the Heat bench. It’s clear the Heat were looking to make a change to get back on track. Robinson and Gabe Vincent came off the bench along with Tyler Herro and Dewayne Dedmon. This left Victor Oladipo and Markieff Morris out of the rotation. The new look rotation worked but it may not be the endgame. Caleb Martin was out, and will need minutes once he returns. From there, it could come down to Robinson or Strus for the last spot in the rotation.
Different Substitution Patterns
Not only did the Heat change their rotations, but their substitution patterns as well. Usually, it’s Jimmy Butler who remains on the floor throughout the whole first quarter as Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo exit. This time, it was Butler who exited the floor after the first six minutes. This allowed Herro early time with Adebayo to see how the pairing looks together. It started off well with Herro finding Adebayo on the roll for an easy two points. Butler then returned to the game playing the power forward position surrounded by shooters.
Butler From the Outside?
Since he struggles from three-point range, Butler usually does his work inside the arc. He either posts up or attacks the paint off the triple threat action. But on Monday, Butler was doing it all. Butler scored off of cuts and drives to the basket. He also took his game outside the three-point arc. Unlike his usual one-legged three-point attempts, he was jumping off of two legs when releasing his shot. And his shooting form looked good while doing it. He ended up converting on three shots from beyond the arc. Most importantly, it was within the flow of the offense. Does that mean he’s going to become a three-pointer now? Not likely, but it will help if he can knock those down when it’s needed.
It’s good to see the Heat bounce back and look close to the team we saw the first half of the season. Of course, they played a shorthanded lottery team. There’s not too much you can take from that. But now, the real test comes on Wednesday. They face off against the Boston Celtics, who have beaten the Heat twice this season. The Celtics have been the hottest teams coming out of the All-Star break with a 22-4 record. They been playing at a high level on both ends of the floor and have quickly become a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Miami is going to have their hands full, but fans are anxious to see how they look on Wednesday.
Next Up: At the Boston Celtics. Game tips off at 7:30pm EDT.
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Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin