Miami’s success is undeniably the leagues most impressive showing early on this season.
With season series leads against solid teams like the Milwaukee Bucks (2-0), Toronto Raptors (2-0), Indiana Pacers (2-0), Dallas Mavericks (2-0), and Philadelphia 76ers (3-1), Miami’s resume is impressive to say the least.
Most impressively, a 26-4 home record is nothing short of a beauty comparing their 19-22 stand at AAA during the 2018-2019 campaign.
Despite having 21 games left this season, the Heat matched their win record from last season, currently holding a record of 39-22.
Pat Riley’s off-season moves have left the Heat in a stretch nobody thought would be possible to overcome after a disappointing 18-19 record.
With such accomplishments by this young Heat squad, opinions have changed by many that we’re given earlier in the season.
With all the positives said and done, there is one team that have give the Miami Heat a problem in their 2 meetings.
The Boston Celtics.
Struggles Against The Celtics
In 2 meetings against Boston, Miami has failed to get a win, losing the first meeting 93-112 and the second at AAA, 109-101.
The first meeting featured a 37 point performance from Jimmy Butler but a poor performance by Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro while Goran Dragic didn’t play with injury.
After a 28-20 first-quarter lead for the Heat, Boston outscored them 65-92 in the final three-quarters. Jaylen Brown finished with 31 points to add upon Kemba Walker’s 28 point night.
With both teams fighting for the second spot in their conference, Miami looked to overcome a disappointing first meeting against Boston on the road.
Boston was rapid fire early, outscoring Miami 38-26 in the first-quarter to keep a lead all game long. Every shot that the Heat made was equalized by Gordon Hayward, especially in the final 12 minutes.
With Miami trailing 80-76 starting the final quarter, Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic did a great job attacking the basket to draw fouls. Butler shot 10-12 from the free-throw line, Dragic shot 10-11.
However, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart hit some big shots late and the Heat couldn’t convert. Miami shot 37.1% (33-89) in total and 24.3% (9-37) from three. Boston took advantage, shooting 47.0% (39-83) overall and 36.1% (13-36) from deep.
What Is The Heat’s Problem Against Boston?
Similar to many of the Heat’s disappointing losses, getting rebounds and stops become an issue against Boston in final minute scenarios.
This problems starts with Duncan Robinson. It’s not debatable that when Robinson is shooting as hot as of recent, he is someone that is a must have on the court.
However, his defensive woes from Robinson have cost them many of those tight games, especially the recent game against the Celtics.
Guarding Gordon Hayward was a big problem for the second-year player. Hayward finished with a team-high 29 points on 10-14 shooting and 8-10 from the free-throw stripe. Duncan struggled finding his usual rhythm, shooting 4-12, scoring 12 points.
“It’s pretty obvious. I’ve got to be a lot better, obviously, defensively. I know I can be better on the ball.”Duncan Robinson said after January 28th 109-101 loss to the Boston Celtics
Until Robinson fixes his defensive woes when they put a great 1 on 1 player like Gordon Hayward, the Heat will suffer in tight final minute settings.
Chance For Redemption
Miami will face Boston 2 more times this season, on April 1st and 11th. These matchups are undoubtedly their biggest games remaining to gain another statement win to their so far impressive season.