HEAT Notebook: Life Comes At You Fast, Miami-Toronto

Recap6 years ago4 min readGiancarlo Navas

Life Comes At You Fast

The thudding realization of the result came just before the buzzer. DeMar DeRozan hit another jumper with Justise Winslow’s hand in his face, the dagger had been hit and everyone knew. Miami fell 96-87 to a team in Toronto that has aspirations of beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The HEAT, meanwhile, are fighting for relevancy and wins. It was only a few months ago, the last time the HEAT were in the Air Canada Centre, they played Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They too were playing for a shot at LeBron and for the grudge match the nation wanted to see.

Since then, Miami lost spectacularly in Game 7 and have started the season under .500. Life comes at you fast. It all happened so quick too, almost from one week to the next. Miami lost two starters and their most beloved sports figure. What used to be Luol Deng taking a 3 in transition is now Luke Babbit, and what was once Dwyane Wade wowing his specters late in games is now Dion Waiters doing a Great Value impersonation of Wade.

Miami was left to rebuild, they doubled down on their young players and went in search for more. The result is a flawed team that has clear limitations, which is fine. It’s okay that the offense bogs down when Dragic leaves the game, it’s okay when Hassan gets stripped a few times and it’s okay that Justise Winslow is still figuring out his offensive game. These things aren’t catastrophes or calamities, they are normal for a team that is trying to grow.

And despite that, the HEAT still remain competitive even when they lose. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter on the road against a team that will likely win 50+ games that the game got out of reach. The HEAT were able to take it down to the wire against San Antonio and played a close game against a playoff contender in the Hornets.

I don’t want to call them moral victories because that is lazy and dismissive, but that doesn’t negate how promising Miami has looked at times. I mean, The HEAT’s low point for rebuilding is having a franchise center and an exciting and very good point guard on an economical deal. It could be worse.

Game Analysis Notes – Aka Box-Score-Watching

Miami’s offense was the limiting factor all night, the HEAT only had an offensive rating of 91 for the game and it dropped to 66 in the fourth quarter.

Justise Winslow had perhaps his worst offensive output this season, going 5/18 from the field and tying Hassan Whiteside in field goal attempts despite his inefficiency.

Hassan had a statistically very good game with 21 points and 16 rebounds, but one of spotty impact.

Tyler Johnson was one of the lone bright spots, he had 16 points on 50% shooting and 4/8 from three.

Much of the game, Miami was getting shots they were comfortable with but just missing them. Whiteside was 10/18 in the restricted area missing layups and dunks we are used to him making.

Dion Waiters continues to miss layups that are very makeable, it is unfortunate because Waiters has a very defined ability to get to the rim.

Tweets: Some of the games best tweets