Latest Miami Heat defeat in LA more ‘the puzzle’ than ‘playing down’

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) speaks with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22)(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) speaks with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22)(Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat did it again! They went and pulled a Miami Heat.

Often “playing down” to the level of competition before them on any given night, you know it’s a real phenomenon with them because it works the other way too. With wins over some of the better teams in the league this year under their belt, they can also “play up” at times.

However and while that is the easiest explanation for what was put on display Wednesday night by the Miami Heat, that wasn’t the real cause or explanation behind what really got them beat. On Wednesday, it was more about another common thing with the Heat that they have to figure out.

The puzzle pieces didn’t quite fit as they should have and though they are starting to fit more seamlessly on more occasions than they don’t, there will still be those odd times where it shows up and as this example shows, to dire consequences.

Here’s what that means.

The Miami Heat took an ugly defeat to the Lakers Wednesday and while they can play down to competition on occasion, this was something a bit deeper than that.

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Take the Miami Heat’s game before their faceoff with the Lakers on Wednesday, the one against the Los Angeles ClippersChilling, for lack of better terms, all game long, Jimmy Butler was able to come on and make the big plays that he and the team needed as the game was being decided.

With Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro carrying the burden of the offensive production for the contest, Butler was able to do that. Now, on Wednesday, Butler did begin to activate immediately as the second half kicked off—but that was apparently too late.

And this is all with the background being the fact that Tyler Herro was struggling mightily on Wednesday compared to how he had been playing. Adebayo continued to feast, but Herro wasn’t the guy he has been over the last few weeks and contests.

That’s what it all means. When Herro and Adebayo are cooking, then Jimmy can afford to do what he did in LA against both teams.

However, the results against the Lakers are what they will be if one of the other main guys isn’t cooking. Now, whether that’s a Jimmy needs to be a better room reader or Jimmy needs to never chill in the first place issue—is something else altogether.

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However, when it comes to the defeat, itself, from Wednesday night, it was more this than that other thing that afflicts the Heat.