Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Justise Winslow’s expanded role and more

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant /
3 of 6
OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant /

Miss: Offense vs. Golden State

It’s always a worthy test to go up against the defending champions, and one of the most dominant teams this league has ever seen. Not only are the Warriors an offensive locomotive, but when they decide to, can also morph into an elite defensive unit.

Heading into Golden State on a back-to-back already stacked the deck against the Heat, but there is no doubt that they failed themselves in a game that proved to be winnable. The Warriors came out flat and remained that way for most of the first half. Both Steph Curry and Kevin Durant struggled from the field and the Heat held the lead for most of the half.

But they couldn’t find any offensive rhythm and instead struggled immensely, playing in the 30’s well into the second quarter, until the Warriors eventually woke up and put the game out of reach.

The Heat’s biggest issue was a lack of movement, which makes the game so much easier for an elite defensive unit like the Warriors.

James Johnson gets the ball in the post and everyone essentially stops moving. The Warriors can pack the paint (which they were doing all night to neutralize Whiteside) and there is no move left for James Johnson. Winslow makes a late cut, but the possession was already over. Without multiple cutters and a more dynamic attack, the Heat cannot take the next step as a threatening offensive unit.

The Heat made things way too difficult on themselves in the most basic of actions, like a dribble hand-off where Tyler Johnson forced a tough pass to James Johnson, for one of the Heat’s 20 turnovers on the night.

It’s a disappointing result and was disheartening to see the Heat revert to some of their worst habits (stagnant offense, turnovers, etc.) in a game where they should have brought their very best. Thankfully, the Heat got back to many of those positive trends in a bounce back win in Phoenix.

(But more on that later.)