3 Observations from the Heat's loss to the 76ers: Nobody to punish mismatches

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Here are three observations from the Miami Heat’s 98-91 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

1. The Heat didn’t have anybody to punish mismatches

It wasn’t hard to figure out Philly’s strategy in this one: Find one of Miami’s weaker defenders and attack. Duncan Robinson was a frequent target, especially for Kelly Oubre Jr. The Heat tried to hide Robinson on Kyle Lowry but it didn’t take much work for the Sixers to get Robinson switched onto Oubre.

Here, Tyrese Maxey sheds Haywood Highsmith and launches a jumper over the much shorter Patty Mills.

Meanwhile, the Heat had no such luck. Without Jimmy Butler to attack smaller defenders or Tyler Herro to pull up against drop coverage, Miami didn’t have a way to attack Philly’s weaker defenders. Even when the 76ers played lineups with Maxey, Cam Payne and Buddy Hield, the Heat could not make them pay.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. could have been an option but he missed 10 of his 13 shots. Still, a play like this should have swung to Jaquez’s side. Watch at the top as Jaquez and Wright are negotiating a switch to get a mismatch. Jaquez is dealing with one of Hield or Payne. A post up against either should be BBQ chicken. Instead, Robinson and Thomas Bryant settle for an off-kilter pick-and-roll.

2. Bam Adebayo’s pair of 3-pointers

Bam Adebayo has made a 3-pointer in four straight games and made two in the same game for the first time in his career. The first, from the corner. It was Bam’s first corner 3 of the season.

Opponents aren’t respecting Adebayo from beyond the arc yet. (And, for the record, they shouldn’t. Bam still has to prove he will take and make these consistently. But he’s on his way.) Mo Bamba doesn’t bother to close out, instead maintaining his position in the paint.

But watch that play again and imagine what it would look like if Bamba were to follow Adebayo to the corner. Highsmith is going downhill against Nic Batum. Perhaps he gets a layup without Bamba in the middle. Or it forces Philadelphia into rotation, and Terry Rozier or Duncan Robinson spring open with a slot cut. Or maybe Highsmith passes to Bam anyway, but Bamba is late to close out and Adebayo attacks baseline and finishes with a rim-rattling dunk.

Adebayo’s second made 3 of the game is becoming his patented shot: The straight-on trailer.

3. Caleb Martin crashing from the corner

Caleb Martin ranks third on the Heat in offensive rebounding and is grabbing 4.4% of available offensive rebounds. Erik Spoelstra empowers him to crash the glass for put-backs. These are the kind of plays that ignite Miami’s offense, spark runs and make a difference in the postseason.