Analyzing the Heat’s In-Season Tournament Triumph over the Wizards: 3 Key Takeaways

Here are three takeaways from the Heat’s win/loss to the Wizards in the first group play game of the in-season tournament.
Heat beats Wizards in first game of in-season tournament, moves to 2-4.  Takeaways, details

The Miami Heat beat the Washington Wizards in the first group play game of the In-season tournament, ending their four-game losing streak. This time, the team built up a sizable lead and sustained it for the victory which they failed to do against the Brooklyn Nets in a painful loss.

In terms of the rest of the Heat’s pack in the in-season tournament which is “East Group B,” the Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks both have one win as the latter beat the Knicks tonight. However, if the first round ended today, Miami would get the nod over Milwaukee since the point differential favors the Heat’s way.

Here are three takeaways from the Heat’s win over Washington:

First half was a toss-up

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, Erik Spoelstra, and Tyler Herro in front of the Kaseya Center.

It was a back-and-forth half between both teams as the Heat had their biggest lead of 10 points through two quarters. However, the Wizards were relentless as they capitalized off of Miami’s mistakes. The Wizards three-point shooting in the first quarter was electric as before a try from Kyle Kuzma from beyond the arch in the last second, they made seven of their eight attempts from deep.

What was preventing Washington from dwindling the Heat even more was the 11 turnovers the Heat forced, plus a solid half from Tyler Herro who was close to have a triple-double with 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. Even when the Wizards were shooting the lights out, the Heat kept calm and played to their strengths, especially in the first quarter and the beginning of the second.

Jimmy Butler had 11 first quarter points which were crucial, but was quiet in the next period. Big-man Bam Adebayao had eight points, two rebounds, and played some solid defense when any Wizard was matched up against him. While they led by six heading into halftime, there was still a lot to be done for the Heat to improve in the second half.

A huge third quarter negated a so-so fourth quarter

While the Wizards kept it close in the first half, they were unready for the Heat in the third quarter as they opened up the gash and built a huge lead of 20 points when the period ended. The Heat were playing sound basketball, the type of play fans remember in the playoffs last season where they made a magical run to the NBA Finals.

It was a big third period especially for the top three players on the team in Butler, Adebayo, and Herro, who each contributed heavily to a 41-point explosion for the Heat. The team especially shot very well as they were 71.4 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the three-point line as the Wizards had trouble stopping the Heat.

Miami’s hot hand would continue early into the fourth quarter as the Heat gained their largest lead of the game which was 25 points. However, the Wizards would get into a little flurry which would decrease the deficit as they got the Heat to lead only by 10. It was too little too late for Washington however.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said it was important for the Heat to sustain the leads they obtain. Mission accomplished, for the most part.

Tyler Herro’s big day

There’s no doubt that Herro had a huge chip on his shoulder going into the season with all the trade rumors and doubt. However, he’s been proving the doubters wrong as despite a slow start for the Heat, he’s had a dynamite season so far. It continued into Friday against the Wizards as he almost notched his second ever professional triple-double as he scored 24 points, recorded 11 rebounds, but was one assist shy at 9.

A win is a win at the end of the day, but while Herro is perceived solely as a scorer, he showed off his playmaking ability as he was feeding nice passes and was active on the glass. It was mentioned in a previous article that Herro has a chance to be the team’s lead scorer and while the season is only six games old, so far so good.
Tyler Herro scores 24 points, Heat top Wizards 121-114 in tournament opener  ::

Miami will look to build off their win as their next test is Monday in a big-time matchup against former Heat player Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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