The Miami HEAT face the Detroit Pistons Monday night at Little Caesars Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM, and television coverage is on FOX Sports Sun. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1: What was your main takeaway from Miami’s loss in Atlanta?
Couper Moorhead: It was somewhat startling to allow an offensive rating of 120.6 to the Atlanta Hawks after having had two days at home to work on their defense, but such is life in today’s NBA. The Hawks aren’t a particularly efficient offensive team, but they play extremely fast and get up a ton of threes. As such, they’re well-suited to take advantage of any small mistakes you make in the open floor, and the volume with which they take threes gives them an extremely high night-to-night variance. No, Alex Len, Omari Spellman and Dewayne Dedmon aren’t going to combine for four made threes every night, but if you catch them on the night that they do, the Hawks are probably going to be in that game. The HEAT will surely be focused on how open those shooters were left, but the reality is that when teams like the Hawks don’t run out a single player who isn’t capable of hitting from deep, it’s going to be incredibly tough to limit attempts.
The good news is that after allowing 74 points in the first half, the HEAT limited the Hawks to just 49 in the second behind aggressive defensive play from smaller lineups. They weren’t able to summon enough offense down the stretch to complete the comeback – missing Goran Dragić with a foot injury didn’t help there – but the defense certainly didn’t fail them in the end – the first half was just too deep a hole to climb out of.
Joe Beguiristain: While the HEAT struggled on the defensive end through three quarters, they got back to their principles in the final period and nearly escaped with the win. In fact, Miami held Atlanta to just 21 points on 7-of-20 shooting in the fourth (35 percent) after giving up 102 points on 57.4 percent shooting up until that point. That’s a huge difference.
Leading the charge in the HEAT’s comeback bid was none other than Justise Winslow. Not only did Winslow keep the pressure on the Hawks’ defense with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth, including 2-of-3 from downtown, but he also put the clamps on Trae Young down the stretch. When Winslow was matched up against Young on Saturday night, the 22-year-old held the rook to just 2-of-7 shooting and forced him to commit three turnovers.
That wasn’t all though, as the former Duke Blue Devil made his impact felt in the hustle stats too with 10 contested shots, a team-high four loose balls recovered and two deflections on the evening.
As Erik Spoelstra said after the game, Winslow emptied the tank.