Miami Heat Greet Success in Early NBA Playoffs
September 16, 2020
Dragic Scores 23, Bam Grabs 19 Rebounds as Miami Heat Complete Four Game Sweep Against Pacers
The Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 99-87 to close out the series with a four-game sweep on Monday night in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Goran Dragic led the charge, dropping 23 points. Center Bam Adebayo scored 14 points, along with grabbing 19 rebounds and six assists for the Heat.
The Heat were absolutely dominant both offensively and defensively. The Pacers were out-rebounded by the Heat 34-60. In addition, The Pacers’s bench were humiliated, outscored by the Heat’s bench, 3-41. Star rookie Tyler Herro came off the bench strong and scored 16 early points, playing a good 32 minutes of the whole game.
Although Miami won this series with no losses, the Pacers fought a hard battle. It would be wrong not to give credit where it’s due. A breakout star since being in the bubble was the Pacers’ small forward, TJ Warren. Since the restart, Warren averaged 31 points per game on 57.8% field goal percentage, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. But despite Warren’s efforts, The Pacers were no match for Miami’s physicality.
“If Miami can continue to find different ways to win the games, they will be a tough opponent in the second round to whoever they face,” said local fan, junior Alexander Dalmau.
Heat fans had a scare when their star forward, Jimmy Butler, exited the game early in the first quarter after what appeared to be a left shoulder strain. Butler was apparently having issues with his shoulder before Monday night’s game, and was listed as questionable to play.
“I was hoping it would cool down, but it didn’t,” Butler told USA Today about his injury in an interview after the game. “I’ll be okay though.”
A four-game sweep should give the Heat some much needed rest before they take on the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks against the Orlando Magic series.
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Heat Steal Game 1 of Eastern Conference Semifinals from Milwaukee Bucks
The Heat was on in the NBA bubble as they stole game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in an absolutely nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat contest.
Leading the charge was Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who dropped a playoff career high of 40 points at 13-20 from the field. Butler, normally a guy who doesn’t take all the shots, proved that he is among the league’s best players by showing that he can put the team on his back and carry them to victory, or simply let the team dictate the flow of the game.
Another huge contributor to Miami’s win was Center Bam Adebayo. Despite only having 12 points, he commanded the rebounding game, finishing with 17 rebounds, and 11 of those being defensive rebounds.
But the highlight of the game wasn’t the Heat’s offense — it was their defense. Miami gave the Bucks no room to breathe and at easy scoring opportunities.
Local Heat fan Jaime Garcia commented on the team’s defense. “Miami’s defense was unmatched, and they closed all possible open spaces on the court for the Bucks to work in,” he said.
It was clear that whoever came out victorious deserved the win, and both teams fought incredibly hard. Milwaukee did not make it easy for the Heat. Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly had a triple double, scoring 18 points and making 10 rebounds and 9 assists. However, his free throw shooting was abysmal. He went 4-12 from the line, which may have cost the Bucks the game.
If Miami wanted to send a message to the rest of the league through this game, then consider it delivered and read. Miami looks dangerous heading into Game 2, which will take place this Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m., where they will look to take a 2-0 lead.
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Heat Beat Bucks in 5, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals for the First Time Since 2014
On Tuesday, the fifth-seeded Miami Heat finished off the first seed Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which means the Heat will be facing off either the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. This will be their first appearance since 2014.
Miami has been absolutely dominant throughout the playoffs, only losing one game out of nine — a big reason for that was their defense. Miami easily swept the Pacers in four games and then faced the Bucks in the semifinals. Milwaukee, also having swept the Orlando Magic in the first round, had lots of momentum on their side going into the semifinals. But as always, the Heat had their usual underdog mentality and shut the Bucks down within five games.
Miami’s defense was impenetrable for the first two games, keeping the Bucks from making an impact on offense. One player that really stood out in this series was Heat rookie Tyler Herro. Herro has proved that he can be trusted with the ball in any scenario and always has a calm head, a rare trait for any rookie. He’s got the whole package and plays like an experienced veteran. The 20-year-old is already showing signs of greatness, and he has loads of confidence to take that last shot.
NBA legend Isiah Thomas commented on his confidence and playing style. “He’s the complete package as a basketball player,” Thomas recently told the Miami Herald. “Not only can he shoot it, he has patience. He’s got a low-pocket shot, so when a defender is on him he can take it to the basket and has the nice little floater and touch. Left hand, right hand, around the basket. He’s capable of doing anything with the basketball.”
Herro will definitely be one to watch for the future. After all, he’s only 20 years old. The Heat are currently waiting to either play the Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the first game being Tuesday, Sept. 15.