Miami Heat: The Yin and the Yang to Thursday’s defeat in Atlanta

The Miami Heat kicked off the second half of their season in Atlanta against the Hawks in State Farm Arena. Here is the best and the worst from the night.

The Miami Heat were superb during the All-Star weekend. Derrick Jones Jr. was the slam dunk king, Bam Adebayo was named the most skilled player in the NBA, and Duncan Robinson was at least highlighted as being one of the absolute best deep ball shooters in the game.

The weekend was topped off with JImmy Butler and Adebayo competing in the All-Star Game, one of the best and most entertaining All-Star Games to date by the way, at least in the fourth quarter. Thursday evening saw them have to get back to work though and that started with a trip to State Farm Arena in Georgia to face the Atlanta Hawks.

With the Hawks down one of their most recent acquisitions in Clint Capela, this was destined to be an easier game for the Miami Heat, right? Wrong and not only was it not easy, the Miami Heat actually ended up losing the game by five, 129-124. While there could potentially be a ton of reasons to point towards for a Heat loss, there is one that stands above all others to me but also, there is a bit of good to take from this bad night.

To start with the bad, the part that mostly cost the Miami Heat Thursday night’s contest, it was shot-making. When thinking about the ability to make shots, it can be the singular most solitary important thing to a team’s success. The Atlanta Hawks are practically turnstiles on defense, but they can make shots, which always guarantees them a shot to win the game.

The Miami Heat could not hit shots on Thursday night, while as mentioned, the Hawks can and did. The overall shooting numbers reflect this very phenomenon, while the shooting numbers from deep for each respective team also mirror this sentiment.

If you take a look at the overall shooting, the Miami Heat made 40 of 98 attempts to shoot 40.8 percent from the field, while the Hawks made 41 of 85 field-goal attempts to shoot 48.2 percent from the floor. Miami only made 11 of their 37 attempts from deep, to shoot 29.7 percent from range, while Atlanta shot 45.7 percent from deep while making 16 of their 35 three-point attempts.

That is the story of the game for the Miami Heat. That’s at least the worst of the worst or the bad part though. As mentioned, there is some good.

Bam Adebayo seemed invigorated off of his first-ever All-Star appearance and NBA Skills Competition title. He was pulling stuff out of his bag that we haven’t ever seen him do before in live-game action. On top of the nifty and varied move set that he unleashed on Thursday night, Bam was a flat out beast in the closing quarter of the game.

There was this one play where he practically ripped the Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins‘ shoulders out of their sockets in mid-air while snatching a rebound from him. Needless to say, Collins ended up on the floor with his palms in the air. Bam finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and a block or in other words, probably his best overall game of the season and his career.

The Miami Heat are off until Saturday, where they will begin a home and home series in Miami against those Beileinless slugs, the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will then turn around and travel to Cleveland on Monday.

This is all before closing out the month of February with a tough three-game stretch, a very winnable yet crucial one for some of the Heat players, as this entire stretch to begin the second half of the season is and will be. We just hope they can right the ship, as they cannot afford to pile up too many losses because it will cause them to drop in the Eastern Conference playoff race, potentially losing out on a home-court playoff series.