Could outburst of 2 Heat players open up Miami's offense?

Bam Adebayo and Haywood Highsmith are enjoying the best 3-point shooting stretches of their careers. It could pay dividends for the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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A big part of the Miami Heat’s run to last year’s Finals was a sudden flash of hot shooting in the playoffs. Now, two Heat players previously considered non-factors from beyond the arc are participating in the team’s 3-point shooting success.

Bam Adebayo is 9 of 14 from 3-point range in his last eight games, making three times as many 3s this month as he had in any season of his career.

Haywood Highsmith had made 12 of 13 from distance over the last three games.

“It’s just me locking in and zoning in, and all that work I put in,” Highsmith said. “Being confident and letting it fly.”

Bam Adebayo and Haywood Highsmith are enjoying the best 3-point shooting stretches of their careers. It could pay dividends for the Miami Heat in the playoffs.

Highsmith is a career 37.1% 3-point shooter for his career but on small volume, never making more than 37 3-pointers in a season in his three previous seasons. His 65 makes and 160 attempts through 57 games this season are both career-highs. 

Adding a legitimate 3-point shot would help Highsmith’s case to crack Erik Spoelstra’s playoff rotation. Highsmith is already considered one of the team’s better perimeter defenders, but an outside shot respected by opponents would make him a legitimate threat on both ends of the floor. 

After Highsmith scored 20 points on 5 of 6 shooting from 3-point range in the Heat’s 60-point win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Spoelstra remarked that Highsmith is playing the best basketball of his career.

“It means a lot coming from coach Spo,” said Highsmith. “This is the time of year you want to play your best basketball, end of the season, going into the playoffs.”

For Adebayo, the addition of a 3-point shot has been eye-opening. Not only because of the sheer number of makes, but also because of how he’s getting the shots. Some are standstill 3s he takes when left open at the top of the arc. On Friday, Adebayo flowed into an in-rhythm pick-and-pop 3-pointer for his second 3-pointer of the game.

Adding the threat to pop out of the pick-and-roll will only help Adebayo space the floor and create opportunities for himself and others to attack the paint. Time will tell if opponents will respect the 3-point shot going forward but, if he keeps taking and making them at a high clip, they will have no choice but to stop leaving him open at some point.

Same goes for Highsmith, who is a restricted free agent this summer.

Open or not, if Adebayo and Highsmith continue to take and make 3s it will be a huge boost to Miami’s offense from two of the team’s best defensive players.

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