3️⃣ The Locksmith
The Heat are 7-0 with Haywood Highsmith in the starting lineup. And if you can say that such a fact usually is a coincidence - hello, Okaro White - this lineup change operated by Spoelstra may have helped the Heat out, mainly defensively.
In the past week, Highsmith has had some of the best guards in the East as his primary assignment and he has answered the call. He has allowed only 3 for 14 shooting (21.4%) to Dinwiddie, Young, Ball and Murray combined, forcing a total of six turnovers when defending them. They account for 36.7% of his defensive assignments from last week. Highsmith has been the best perimeter defender for the Heat and a key addition to the starting lineup, on a team that was struggling in that regard, helping the Heat finally reach the top 10 defensively.
The first two clips show his work on the duo of guards from the Hawks. Notice how he stays balanced and in front of the ball at all times. Never loses his footing and stays with the play, going with Trae to the rim to block and poking at the ball to steal it from Murray's hands.
The third clip has Highsmith recovering his position after the pick and roll, and then being physical enough that he forces Lamelo to the wing but not too much that he fouls him. Creates a barrier that's not easy for Ball to take down and forces a bad shot.
The last clip is a great example of staying disciplined and keeping his position. Haywood never goes for any Lamelo fake and stands his ground when he tries to spin, taking away the space and forcing him to shoot falling away.