Miami Heat: Three biggest takeaways from Friday’s loss to Pelicans

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives against Brandon Ingram #14 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat drives against Brandon Ingram #14 (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat began a road trip on Friday in New Orleans against the Pelicans. Here are three of the biggest takeaways from the road defeat.

The Miami Heat surely entered the Smoothie King Arena on Friday evening with a certain mentality abreast. With the New Orleans Pelicans there waiting on them, they most certainly had to be aware that they could be beaten and especially on the road by this team.

The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA, being led by Alvin Gentry and his fast-paced offense, with a roster that features Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, and rookie sensation, Zion Williamson. They sit in a tie for the 4th and 5th places in the league with the LA Clippers when it comes to total scoring per game at 116.2 points per contest, while they are actually top five in all three of points, rebounds, and assists.

While this team isn’t as good as the Miami Heat are when they are both at their best, they can begin to overwhelm you with their scoring and become too much if you allow them a big enough head start. The Heat did just that on Friday and they paid for it with the game. Here are the three main takeaways from the defeat.

Effort, Effort, and more Effort

The Miami Heat aren’t usually the team that’s getting outworked, but they were on Friday evening. The New Orleans Pelicans took it to them and just made more of the little plays than Miami did.

The Miami Heat played with far less hustle, effort, and urgency than the Pelicans did in the first half, while it was just about even for much of the second. It was too late by that time though and the New Orleans Pelicans would not be overcome. Hopefully, this is something that Coach Spo can use to fire them up for their next game against Washington.

Layup Drills?

The Miami Heat missed too many layup attempts on Friday night. There were at least five point-blank layups that were just flat out blown.

The Miami Heat were defeated by six points. While I believe there were at least a few more, if you count just the five mentioned that gives you 10 points and a four-point lead over the Pelicans based on the final score.

Layups are fundamental to the game. Contested layups are a fundamental of the NBA. The Heat have to be better there.

Duncan Robinson

Just a game after making nine threes, the league’s best shooter at the moment in Duncan Robinson followed that up with another awe-inspiring performance. On Friday night, he racked up eight deep balls for all of his 24 points, going 8-14 from distance. While he was stellar and the Heat’s only source of long-range shooting for the most of the game, he wasn’t flawless.

The Miami Heat’s sniper has the ultimate green light, but either he is still a bit timid or unaware. There were two different occasions coming down the closing stretch and on almost consecutive possessions, if not consecutive, where he should have taken the shot.

He threw the ball away into a turnover on one occasion when he couldn’t decide whether to release the shot or pass it. He’s the guy from that range, he should always be thinking shoot.

The next one was a possession in which he had more than enough room, although only a slither to some, off of a Bam Adebayo handoff. He should have taken that shot as it was, at minimum, a good look for a shooter of Duncan’s ilk.

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The Miami Heat were beaten at their own game on Friday night and it couldn’t have felt good. They need to be better as they head to Washington for a Sunday showdown against a feisty Washington team, that although doesn’t have a splendid record, can beat them if they take them lightly. They should get back on track then.