Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Third quarter struggles and more

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 17: Dion Waiters /
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MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 21: Wayne Ellington
MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 21: Wayne Ellington /

Make: Wayne Ellington

Another encouraging sign for the Heat was the play of their resident sharpshooter, as Ellington corrected a low start with a week where he shot 11-of-21 from deep.

While it’s an empty award, Ellington was the lone bright spot for the Heat against the Pacers, keeping them in the game early with his shooting and doing his best to spark a run that would never come.

The minutiae of the Pacers game aside, getting Ellington back on track is almost as important as James Johnson for the long-term success of this season. Ellington is virtually unplayable when he isn’t shooting well, considering he isn’t a plus defender. But provides immense value when he can knock down threes and space the defense.

Ellington’s shot opens up so much for the Heat, including driving lanes and space to operate for Dion Waiters, Dragic, Justise Winslow and the Johnsons. More importantly, Hassan Whiteside.

Every successful Heat offense has had a must-mark shooter (or three) that pulls the defense out with their activity. Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Shane Battier have all occupied this role, and now Ellington gets the opportunity to step into that function. As long as he’s shooting well, the Heat’s offense can go (Ellington was a heroic -2 against the Pacers) to the heights that’ll allow its defense to win the game comfortably.

While Ellington may not have the name recognition of those past champions, his conditioning and his activity on the offensive end gives the Heat another weapon that, again, they desperately need.