Heat-76ers: Sniper Duncan Robinson is a hot topic, but cold shooting is just one of Miami’s problems

If you want to make a case that Duncan Robinson deserves time to play, you could start with Miami Heat’s the first goal in the 4th game of their series in the second round. In an effort to win Kyle Lowry goes and exploit Philadelphia 76ers‘Dropping coverage, they drive it off the screen in dribble-handoff Bam Adebayobut Lowry rear hoop opens 3:

Lowry is a great scorer, but came back after a tendon injury in the previous game and is nowhere near completely healthy (will miss the 5th game due to knee problems). He has yet to score 3 points in the series, and Miami as a team has scored 14 for 65 (21.5 percent) in two games at the Wells Fargo Center. On Sunday, Lowry missed one of his patented 3s for a retreat in transition, one s Jimmy Butler screening it wide open and one with James Harden choosing to go below the screen:

Here’s a simple contrast: in the first possession of their March 5 game against Philadelphia, the Heat knocked Robinson off the amazing screen. He let him fly from the same place Lowry was Joel Embiid looking from the same angle, and enters:

Robinson is one of the best shooters to walk the earth, and he is completely out of rotation. Three weeks before his DNP-CD on Sunday, he opened the playoffs by shooting 8 for 9 from depth and scoring 27 points in 23 minutes against Atlanta Hawks. On Monday, his agency celebrated the 19-month anniversary of his 26-point performance in the 5th game of the 2020 NBA Finals. tweet full of emoticons and subtexts. I wrote about Robinson after that gamenoting that he turns the defense with a move outside the ball – he made two in one game Los Angeles Lakers defenders encounter each other.

Philadelphia’s defense didn’t look so confused, at least when her 7-foot anchor was on the floor. It was fearless to play the zone, in the trap Tyler Herro and fall against almost anyone else. Adebayo, whose duel with Robinson was once a major component of the Heat attack, struggled to create an advantage against Embiid one on one, and on Sunday they put him on the field for every minute Embiid sat.

Butler dropped 40 points in 42 minutes in the 4th game, but that was not enough. Given how poorly everyone else shot, shouldn’t coach Erik Spoelstra have put Robinson there?

“Obviously now you know you’re watching the percentage, it’s a simple conclusion,” Spoelstra said after the game. “But we still had a really good look.”

Spoelstra said he was considering replacing Robinson. He admitted that Robinson could potentially help Adebay. But he was more worried about the other end of the floor.

“We’re a great team in the shot for 3 points, we just didn’t manage to knock them down,” Spoelstra said. “The bigger story was that we couldn’t defend them, disrupt them, keep them out of the free throw line at key moments. I think our attack would probably be good enough to give ourselves the right opportunity, even the way we were shooting from 3. But we failed to achieve the kind of consistent defensive stops we are used to. “

Lowry and Butler said they are getting good shots and are confident the 3s will fall in the next game. The film shows that Herro, Butler, Victor Oladipo and Gabe Vincent all missed wiiiiiiiiiiiide-open views:

AND PJ Tucker balloon one from his office on the corner:

If things in the league for success or failure remain unconvincing, it’s because Miami couldn’t consistently release Herr and Max Strus, and the Sixers don’t seem to be particularly worried about anyone else behind the arc. Still, despite all that, Heat scored 110.2 points per 100 possessions – not great, but much better than the disaster (89.8 per 100) that was in Game 3. Miami had a 48-34 advantage in points and 24-11 advantage in baskets over lost balls.

“Look, we’re proud to be able to find different solutions to win,” Spoelstra said. “And uh, we felt like we could push ourselves so we could get this one in the grind, in the mud.”

The Heat sacrificed a gap for versatility in the defensive game when they knocked Robinson out of the starting lineup in late March, and again when they knocked him out of the rotation against Philadelphia. They could have given Robinson some of Oladip’s 32 minutes on Sunday, but at what cost? You may disagree with Spoelstra’s assessment of Miami’s attack, but he’s undeniably right when it comes to defense. The trend was falling in all series, with the Sixers scoring 120.8 points per 100 possessions in Game 4.

Spoelstra repeatedly mentioned a number of end-time games that kept the Heat at bay. The numbers are staggering: Philadelphia hit 13 for 17, including 6 for 8 from a 3-point range, with six or fewer seconds per hour to shoot, per NBA.com‘s John Schuhmann and Second Spectrum. Among them were five daggers in the last six minutes: Harden step back 3 against Adebay, Harden kick against Adebay, Harden spot-up 3 over Oladip, lob of Tyrese Maxey to Tobias Harris after an offensive jump and Harden’s side step 3 against Oladip.

“For the most part in terms of defense, we haven’t been able to really influence them,” Spoelstra said. “Certainly not in the first half. They were in great rhythm and could get what they wanted, including their players. We could have disrupted that rhythm a bit in the second half, but again those performances at the end of the hour were really crippling. “

The Sixers scored 112.4 points per 100 possessions halfway on Sunday, a result that would lead the league with a big difference in the regular season. If Spoelstra was primarily concerned with solving this problem, it is understandable that he did not turn to Robinson, whom Harden would have targeted immediately.

It is also reasonable, however, to wonder if the compromise might have been worth it. Maybe Robinson would knock down several consecutive 3s, giving the Heat a boost of energy and more room for defense errors. They could have put it on when Harden went to the bench. They could put it on and play more zone defenses. If he gets the chance and gets hot, maybe Philadelphia will be moved to a defense professional Matisse Thybulle more minutes, damaging his distance and making it easier for Miami to get a stop.

Compromises between attack and defense are what every team has to resolve during the playoffs, Spoelstra said, speaking in general, not just about Robinson. But not every team has turned down a guy 6-7 with a lightning release who signed a $ 90 million contract last summer and swung in the playoff games. Robinson recorded more minutes for the Heat in the regular season than anyone but Herr and Lowry, and in the second round he played just 55 seconds of nonsense. This is an extreme change, even for a player who has already been degraded.

Basketball is not the most balanced team competition. If Spoelstra doesn’t find a place for Robinson, misses pile up and Miami can’t get out of this series, second-guess it will get even louder. Given that Lowry was kicked out of the game on Tuesday, is Robinson more important or less sustainable? If Harden is already teasing Herra, is it a big deal to give him another target? These questions have no black and white answers.

Spoelstra, like others, knows how quickly Robinson can catch fire. Still, he would rather win ugly than lose with a nicer attack. And he described Strus, Herr and Vincent as “flammable” in themselves.

“They see a couple fall, it can turn into four, five, six of those,” Spoelstra said, snapping his fingers. “And that’s what I want our guys to think about. I want them to be gunmen, to go out and shoot.”

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