The Miami Heat lost to Sacramento Friday on the back of their fatal flaw as a team. Don’t worry too much though, Pat Riley made sure that help is coming.
The Miami Heat entered Friday night’s game already playing from behind. Not only would they be without Meyers Leonard (who didn’t even bother making the road trip due to injury) and Tyler Herro (who is nursing an injury of his own, but seemingly day to day at the moment), but they also would be without Jimmy Butler, who injured his shoulder in Wednesday night’s contest against the Clippers.
The game started out pretty even, although it was clear that the Kings were playing with a different level of swagger, probably considering that they knew that the Heat were shorthanded and had just beat them about two weeks or so ago in a Sunday showdown in Miami. The Miami Heat did find ways to take the lead in the first half though, even if only by three points or so.
In the second half, however, it was pretty much all Sacramento. It got to a point where it seemed as though they were taking and making ludicrous looking three-point shots at will. Their outside barrage was inevitably too much for the Heat to overcome, with Miami succumbing 105-97.
The Miami Heat pulled back for much of the game into what has now become their all too well known 2-3 Zone. Like quite a few teams before them this season, they proceeded to torch the Heat from behind the arc.
The only way to beat a zone of that magnitude they say is to “shoot them out of it”. The Kings certainly did that and in an impressively elegant manner. No need to worry though, I have a good feeling that the zone defense is about to once again become more of a different look than the Heat’s base defense and here’s why.
With the acquisition of Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Solomon Hill, the Miami Heat acquired three excellent wing defenders. While not only freeing up Jimmy Butler to concentrate more of his energy on the offensive end, you add those three to some of the already more active defenders that the Miami Heat can throw at you and you have quite the defensive potential.
Plotting a few of these guys into the lineup can even help to serve to cover up for some of the defensive lapses by players that the Miami Heat must keep on the floor to be their best selves. In example, Duncan Robinson is and has been essential to the success of the Heat this season, but can sometimes find himself made into a target on the Heat’s defensive end.
The Miami Heat were lit up like a Christmas tree on Friday night, to a tune of 19-44 from three for the Sacramento Kings. A ton of this success from deep for Sacramento can be attributed to space naturally allowed by the zone for shooters, which they aptly took advantage of.
That space won’t continue to be there, at least not as with much frequency or for as long a period of time. Pat Riley made sure of that at the trade deadline with the acquisitions he made.
The Miami Heat are back at in on Sunday night against the Portland Trailblazers in Portland. They lost a tough one on Friday night based on a somewhat controversial call/no-call at the end of their game Utah. Miami’s new acquisitions look primed to suit up as well, so those two things alone should make that a very fun game and one that we are greatly anticipating!