The Heat, with a 106-97 win at MSG, have won their second straight game. They’re winning games against teams that they need to win against, like the Bulls and Knicks, and that’s good. They’re not excused from being outscored by the Knicks in the first half, though. I’m paying attention. Here’s my thought process from throughout this game:
Wayne Ellington Makes an Appearance:
Hello, old friend. It’s good to see you. Ellington’s first half was entirely underwhelming, but he had a second half worthy of some rotation minutes. With Tyler Johnson not dressing, he got the start, and showed his worth. He took 11 of Miami’s 33 three pointers on his own, which is a little strange, but you’ve got to stick to what you know, I suppose. I’d say Spo is starting to read my articles, because both Olynyk and Ellington both saw solid rotation minutes. Thank you, Erik. I’ll be in touch.
Dwyane Wade Gets Used a Lot:
In the NBA, there is a stat called Usage Rate. This rate is, according to basketballreference.com (my favorite site ever), an estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor. This means, basically, how many plays end with a specific player shooting the ball, turning the ball over, or drawing a foul. While watching the game, I noticed how many times Dwyane Wade ended plays, and the stats backed my observation. Wade ended 30% of plays when he was on the floor.
He actually leads the team in usage percentage from the bench. Only Lou Williams (who averages starter’s minutes) and Tyreke Evans have a higher usage percentage from bench positions this season. Evans is about to see an uptick in minutes, though, as Victor Oladipo’s season is over and Evans has begun to see the starting position. There’s your NBA fun fact for the day.
Third Quarter Oddity:
As I detailed in the recap of the loss to the Clippers, the Heat struggle with third quarter scoring. They outscored the Knicks 29-12 in the third quarter on Sunday. This could be because the Knicks aren’t very good, and actually rank worse than the Heat in third quarter scoring. I’m going to assume that’s why, and call it a day. But, that’s a good sign for the Heat. They were outscored by six points in the first half, which is kind of embarrassing against the team like the Knicks. Those third quarters, especially in games like Sunday’s, are pivotal, and the Heat need to repeat their process to find more success in the second half of games.
Only 106 Points:
The Knicks allow 115 points per game, and the Heat only scored 106. The Heat are actually in the bottom five teams in points per game, which is definitely a problem for a team on the verge of a playoff run. When playing teams like the Cavs and the Knicks, scoring just 106 points isn’t going to cut it (I know, 90’s NBA is rolling in its grave, but 106 just isn’t a lot in the modern era). With shooters like Ellington making their way back into the rotation, and the Heat’s main facilitator in Goran Dragic inching his way closer to a return, that number should go up, but watch for the Heat’s 105.7 points per game to start to become a major problem. That’s as many points per game as the Suns. They’re 11-41.
The Heat take some time off and play the Bulls on Wednesday, in Miami. I’ll have the preview, of course.