Miami Heat: Two of their most dependable tools usurped in Suns defeat

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Jevon Carter(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against Phoenix Suns guard Jevon Carter(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat came into Tuesday night’s contest against the Phoenix Suns fresh off of a tough road victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. They were able to knock off the Trail Blazers due to their ability to stop them from scoring.

That wasn’t the case on Tuesday night, at all. Where the Miami Heat rank first in the league when it comes to opponent points allowed in the paint, they were bludgeoned there Tuesday by Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton.

It seemed like almost every single time down the floor, they had to get a paint touch. Even if the guy in the paint, most likely Ayton, wasn’t going to shoot the ball, they just wanted to let him touch it.

Again, though he didn’t shoot it every time, he certainly shot it enough. He would score 13 points by his first bucket of the second half, which came immediately in that sector of play.

Though he would only go on to finish with 19 points, he also pitched in 13 boards, and the ease with which he was able to get is baskets allowed the Suns to dictate the pace, tempo, and narrative of the game. With the Heat’s ability to control their paint and use that and turnovers to get out on the break, they tend to control all of that stuff but couldn’t against Phoenix.

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The Miami Heat didn’t have two of their main components show up for them on Tuesday.

On top of allowing themselves to be punctured in their painted area by the Suns big man, the Miami Heat’s big man did it again. By “did it”, we mean, almost, nothing.

Listen, Bam Adebayo does a lot for this Miami Heat team every night, so don’t get it twisted, because his worth and meaning to this team is, first off, known but secondly, unparalleled. However, he needs to be aggressive, offensively, every single night in order that this Miami Heat team may be their best selves.

It’s really that simple. This isn’t anything new.

He has had this issue for a while and it’s not the first time it’s been mentioned to be a problem for Miami. Something has to click for him at some point though.

He only had two field goal attempts in the first half of play. That’s right, TWO!

He would only finish with six attempts on the night and though with an 11 point and 10 rebound double-double to put into the boxscore, it wasn’t enough nor what you need Bam to give you as a leader and the second best player on this Heat team.

They don’t have that long to sulk in this defeat though. They face the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night, who have their own troubles to fret about with Jamal Murray‘s injury.

Just because they don’t have him though, don’t think it’s an easy win. If anything, they’ll be more motivated to show that they aren’t as done as most might think and especially in their first game after the injury.

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Either way it goes though, the Miami Heat weren’t good enough on Tuesday. A huge part of that reason is because two of their feature components weren’t good enough.