The Heat lost 111-99 to a team playing the second half of a road back-to-back. That’s not a good sign. This puts the Heat at 22-24, which isn’t a good sign either. I’m going to talk about my thought process through Thursday night’s game, and I hope you’ll read it:
Why the Short Rotation:
Spo’s rotations just do not make sense to me anymore. He opted for a nine-man rotation today, when he’s been running with ten for most of the year. Rodney McGruder didn’t play, which is fine, but neither did Kelly Olynyk or Wayne Ellington. Olynyk was severely needed, especially with James Johnson performing pretty terribly in his 25 minutes. Are those players on the trading block? I just don’t get it.
Derrick Jones Jr. Comes Back to Earth:
One point in 10 minutes on 0-1 shooting, DJJ is now officially back to his old ways. After a solid few games over the last couple of weeks, Jones is now primarily used for defensive purposes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wouldn’t mind him trying to get more shots off, especially against a team that allows as many points as the Clippers do. Jones also had two turnovers, which isn’t a big number, but had a turnover percentage of 51.5%, which means he was incredibly unproductive whenever he held or passed the ball. Not a big fan of that.
Tobias Harris is Amazing:
He’s so hard to stop. For two players with similar play styles, Harris completely showed up Josh Richardson Thursday night. I talked about that matchup briefly in this game’s preview, but I was expecting something much more even. Harris shot a scorching 63% from the field and made 50% of the threes he put up, good for 31 points to Richardson’s inefficient 17. He’s a legitimate all-star candidate, despite the amount of depth in the Western Conference and the Clippers roster.
Tyler Johnson Should Be Starting:
Aside from a bad three-point shooting night, Tyler Johnson looked very good for Miami. He should be starting over McGruder, something I’m seeing Spoelstra notice more and more. With what the Heat are paying him ($19 MILLION THIS YEAR), he should be a more productive player. It seems like he works well alongside a playmaking Winslow, and can effectively score off the catch or off the dribble. Start him. Bench McGruder. Forever. Thanks.
Second Half Problem:
The Heat have a problem coming out of the locker room. I don’t know if it’s a coaching issue, a player issue, or a mental issue, but the Heat have struggled mightily in the second half. They scored just 18 points in the third quarter on Thursday, and they average the sixth-lowest second half points in the league this season. They’re 27th in fourth quarter scoring. There’s an issue of motivation, or of Spoelstra refusing to adjust the scheme, or something. Miami’s got a big issue there, and that’s the biggest issue to fix going forward.
The Heat play the Cavaliers in Cleveland tomorrow, a must-win for a Heat team that’s looked lackluster over the last couple of games.