Take That For Data: Takeaways from Miami Heat’s Season-Opening Loss in Orlando

Insight3 years ago4 min readChristian Hernandez

The Miami Heat surrendered a 104-101 season-opening loss Wednesday to the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Our resident statistician, Christian Hernandez (@TheMapleRick), pieced together his biggest takeaways for Miami as they enter Thursday on the second night of a back-to-back versus the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena in a new series we’re calling, “Take That For Data.”

Foul Trouble: Making the start at power forward, Derrick Jones, Jr. could not establish himself in the second half of Wednesday’s game as he somehow committed four fouls in 1:48 of action, leading to him fouling out early in the fourth quarter.

“We just have to get better at it,” Spoelstra said during his postgame media presser. “Derrick as a young player has to become an absolute master of technique and discipline. That’s just the way it is. He’s capable of that.”

Off Night: Kelly Olynyk really struggled in his first game of the new season. He could not find any rhythm offensively and was really struggling to stay with the athletic front-court the Magic deployed, particularly Magic forward Aaron Gordon. The Heat had a team-worst 65.8 offensive rating and 117.1 defensive rating in Olynyk’s 15 minutes of action.

Silver Lining: The Heat shot unusually poor last night on uncontested attempts, shooting 31 percent when players were open. If they had shot closer to average, they probably find a way to win the game.

One Last Dance: Dwyane Wade really struggled offensively on Wednesday, scoring nine points on 13 shots while turning the ball over four times. He made his presence felt in other ways, as he collected 11 rebounds (five of them on the offensive glass), and he held opponents scoreless on defense. However, there has to be concern with Wade’s inability to finish offensively when he’s still operating as a high-usage player.

Transition Struggles Continue: One of the big story lines going into this season is Miami making a more concerted effort to push the pace, but overall the team was struggling to finish. That trend continued in the season opener Wednesday as Miami was a ghastly 2-of-11 from the field in transition, with Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside combining to go 1 for 7 in those situations.

Dragic Dealing: Goran Dragic was far and away the best player on the court for Miami in their season opener, as he scored 26 points on only 14 shots. Half of his production came in the pick-and-roll, where he went 5-of-7 from the field along with a couple fouls drawn. If you include his passes, the Heat scored 19 points (1.462 PPP) in the 13 possessions Dragic executed out of the pick-and-roll. Only Kemba Walker, Joe Ingles, and Devin Booker created more points in the pick-and-roll in their first games — only Ingles did it more efficiently.

• Hassan’s Movement: Per @nbastats‘ movement-tracking data, Hassan Whiteside covered 2.36 miles in his 33:35 minutes, meaning it was taking him 14.2 minutes to cover a mile on the court. Last season, it took him 15.1 minutes to cover a mile on average. That means last night Hassan covered five percent more ground than he typically did last season. Let’s see if he continues moving better.

Heat Offensive Leader: Goran Dragic

Dragic finished with 26 points on 14 attempts, averaging 64/43/71 shooting splits on Wednesday. He added four assists and was a team-leading plus-20 as he drove the offense during his 32 minutes.

Heat Defensive Leader: Rodney McGruder

McGruder defended 11 possessions on Wednesday, resulting in opponents shooting 2-of-9 from the field and committing two turnovers. He allowed his defensive responsibility to score on only 18 percent of possessions, which ranked him in the 96th percentile defensively across the league after one game played (via Synergy Sports).