It was a dud of a final scrimmage for the Miami Heat on Tuesday, as they fell to Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies, 128-110.
It wasn’t the Miami Heat’s day on Tuesday when they took on the Memphis Grizzlies in their final scrimmage of the “preseason” in Orlando. The defense was shoddy, the rotations were funky, and frankly; a lot of guys weren’t hitting the shots they’re expected to knock down.
From the jump, the game had a strange vibe, with the Grizzlies just pouring it in from downtown almost immediately. By the end of the game, everyone from Ja Morant to Anthony Tolliver had gotten their looks from downtown, and connected on at least one shot from deep.
Yet even in a loss, there are things to learn. That being said, a look at five takeaways from Tuesday.
Defense, or Lack Thereof?
The biggest critique from both fans and announcers was against the Heat’s defense. Which, to say the least, did not provide optimal results. Memphis ending shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 45 percent from behind the arc, and 79 percent from the charity stripe, respectively.
And while that’s certainly evidence toward a poor defensive effort, it doesn’t tell the entire story.
It wasn’t a bad effort from the Heat by any means. But the Grizzlies proved immune to Miami’s zone defense for what felt like the entire game. It also doesn’t help that Memphis was stroking it from three with ease, which saw them finish with 19 shots made on 42 deep attempts.
So whether you think the Heat’s defense was poor, don’t jump to any assumptions just yet. Sometimes it’s just not your day. And more importantly, today it was the other team’s.
Andre Iguodala is Ready
A part of what inspires confidence going forward regarding the Miami Heat defense was Andre Iguodala‘s play on Tuesday. When he was acquired at the trade deadline in February, fans were quick to question if the 36-year old veteran was ready to help in their playoff push.
Against the Grizzlies, Iguodala looked like the same forward who once kept LeBron James at bay in the 2015 Finals, earning him Finals MVP honors.
He recorded two points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks in 23 minutes of action. If Iguodala is going to look like this on the day to day, expect him to see a larger role ahead of the playoffs, and for this Miami Heat defense to truly kick it up a notch.
Jae Crowder the Enforcer
The other piece to the Justise Winslow deal at the deadline, Jae Crowder, showed out for the Heat against Memphis. He finished with 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists in 23 minutes. And that didn’t come without a little famous Crowder flare.
Known as an enforcer on the court, he ended up locking arms with Grizzlies center Jonas Valancunias. The two went back and forth for a few minutes before the Memphis big man was ultimately pulled and rested for the final stretch.
Having someone like Crowder who can play the role of dogged defender and enforcer will help the Heat with matchups that transcend play on the court. See 76ers, Philadelphia.
Herro Can’t Buy A Bucket, Still
Some players have taken the scrimmages to lock in, but that can’t be said for Tyler Herro, who’s still stuck slap in the middle of a shooting drought. He finished with eight points, five rebounds, and four assists on 3-of-13 shooting from the field, and two-of-eight from deep.
Herro once again lead the team in minutes on the floor, as he did in both of the Heat’s first two scrimmages. Head coach Erik Spoelstra is trying to help the rookie shooting guard find his groove and will need him to find his hot hand again before the team enters playoffs.
Kelly Olynyk Has Got to See More PT
After leading the team with 27 points in their loss to the Utah Jazz, forward Kelly Olynyk didn’t get any run in the first quarter against the Grizzlies on Tuesday. It wasn’t until the start of the second quarter that the veteran forward made the floor, prompting questions about Spoelstra’s rotations.
In his 14 minutes on the floor, Olynyk scored 12 points and finished with a team-high plus-minus rating of (+3). It can obviously be chalked up to Spoelstra’s wiggle room for experimentation in the scrimmage environment but is worth keeping an eye on.
The Miami Heat will move on to finish out their 2019-2020 regular season on Saturday when they take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Tip-off is at one pm est.