Coup’s Takeaways: Tyler Herro Leads The Way In Atlanta
1. It cannot be fun to play the HEAT on a normal day, but it must be especially annoying to play them after they’ve had three days off. They send so much help, and put such a chokehold on the paint – always ready with a body to take a charge on the chance that you do get into the middle – that you’re forced to go outside of your comfort zone and run something other than your regular offense. To Atlanta’s credit, they did well passing around Miami’s interior rotations for the first couple of quarters, but they didn’t have enough to show for it as they probably should have. Then the third quarter hit and Miami broke the game wide open with a 19-2 run.
The one specific weakness to Miami’s defense, which is by design, is that they allow a ton of threes. But the HEAT’s rotations were on point throughout the evening as Atlanta struggled to even get good looks from the areas you’re supposed to get good looks from against Miami as they shot 13-of-45 from three. The HEAT hit another 16 threes of their own, and are now 11-4 when playing without Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
2. When Erik Spoelstra opted not to blitz Steph Curry last week, it made perfect sense because when Curry is playing with Draymond Green he’s essentially unblitzable and the HEAT have played him as such. But with Trae Young, the HEAT have almost always gone to the blitz for extended periods, and it was most interesting that the HEAT stuck with switches and even drop coverage against Young as Young posted one of his worst games of the season (15 points on 15 shots, just five assists against four turnovers). Granted, the HEAT are usually blitzing with Adebayo available, but this is something to track if Miami’s scheme can continue to temper production against elite point guards without having to pull players away from the paint.
3. Sometimes you can rack up assists just from making passes you usually make and guys making shots, but Tyler Herro’s career-high eight assists (for a half) were no mistake. With the extended break since last playing, Herro looked like he was shot out of a cannon – quite literally on a chasedown block on De’Andre Hunter – as he rescued a struggling HEAT offense in the first quarter, and by the time he got to the rim a handful of times Atlanta was in full go-get-that-guy mode. Herro took that to his advantage, using the extra defensive attention to manipulate the passing lanes, to create one high-value opportunity after another. Herro also scored 16 points on 12 shots in the first half – 21 for the game, to go with 11 assists and nine rebounds, nearly his first triple double – but we know he can do that. He can hit tough shots and do it in a hurry. But what separates him from other field-goal dependent bench scorers is the playmaking. Performances like this are a crucial and most welcome development.