Our Heat season companion part 16 finds the Heat on the verge of missing the 2023 NBA playoffs entirely. The Heat lost the seventh-seed play-in game 116-105 to the Atlanta Hawks. As a result, the Heat’s last chance to make the 2023 playoffs is to beat the Chicago Bulls. This was another bad loss for Miami. Let’s discuss what happened.
The Hawks Dominated the Heat on the Glass
The most obvious reason why the Hawks won despite shooting only 24% from three-point range is that they dominated the rebounding battle. The Hawks grabbed 63 rebounds, compared to only 39 rebounds for the Heat. Capela was the biggest force on the glass for the Hawks, grabbing an astonishing 21 rebounds all on his own.
No one on the Heat even got 10 rebounds. This failure came down to a lack of executing rebounding fundamentals, like boxing out and firmly securing rebounds. All in all, this was a pathetic performance from the Heat in general, but especially on the glass in front of their home fans.
Heat Season Companion Part 16: Trae Young Scored 25 Points
Trae Young struggled against the Heat in last season’s playoffs, but he did not struggle in this play-in game. Young scored 25 points on 8-18 shooting and had seven assists, as well. The Heat’s defense against both Young and Dejounte Murray, who scored 18 points, was nowhere near good enough. Given that this Heat team is largely unchanged from last season, serious questions have to be asked about defensive rotations, communication, and overall defensive effort in this game.
No Heat Players Aside from Butler, Herro, and Lowry Stepped Up
Offensively, the main issue aside from the rebounding woes was the lack of scoring from most of the team. Bam Adebayo was the only player who had more than 10 points aside from Butler, Herro, and Lowry. Cody Zeller and Kevin Love combined for just four points. Neither Oladipo nor Caleb Marin scored even a single basket. The Heat’s lack of bench scoring cost them big-time in this game and could even lead to the Heat missing the playoffs altogether.
The Heat Have to Beat the Bulls in the Other East Play-in Game
Since the Heat suffered another embarrassing loss in a game they should have won, the Heat’s last chance of making the 2023 NBA playoffs lies in defeating the Bulls in the final Eastern Conference play-in game. The Heat should beat the Bulls and secure the eighth seed, but my confidence in this Heat team is at an all-tine low. I would bet that Jimmy Butler scores at least 20 points in the final play-in game, though.
Check back next week for more Miami Heat content.