Jimmy Butler, once again, was the most dominant player on the floor in Game 2 and he’s the main reason the Heat have a 2-0 series lead. His stat line — 18 points on 13 shots, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 turnovers, 2 steals — might not speak to dominance but he made all of the big plays for Miami.
He hit two 3-pointers, punishing Indiana for giving him space, and getting himself to the line 8 times. He didn’t have to do it on every possession but he’s certainly left the impression that the Pacers don’t really have a counter for him on offense, and not just his isolation scoring — his ability to get the ball where it needs to go and shepherd Miami’s offense into the best situation.
Myles Turner showed up better for Indiana in Game 2, putting up 17 points and 8 rebounds, and Victor Oladipo had 22. But nothing came easy and that duo combined to miss 11 3-pointers. Indiana has to figure out a way to create more movement on offense because right now the Heat are simply swarming everything.
What else did you miss in Game 2 between the Pacers and Heat?
Strategic advantage: Miami’s creators
Both teams collaborated in slowing the pace and working towards a somewhat grinding pace. But the Heat are just so much more equipped to win in a halfcourt game. They weren’t an exceptional offense during the regular season but they have a multitude of ball-handlers who can create off the dribble and move the defense. And they have the advantage of putting the ball in Bam Adebayo’s hands in the mid-post and running cutters and curls to create opportunities, something we’d be seeing a lot more of from Indiana if Domantas Sabonis was healthy.
Without Sabonis the Pacers really only have one note and it’s much easier to push them towards static isolations, something they don’t have the personnel to leverage through iso-scoring or kickouts to shooters.
Key matchup: Everyone trying to stop Duncan Robinson
Robinson’s shooting fueled the Heat’s offense today. All of his shots came from beyond the arc and he made 7-of-8. The issue isn’t just that the Heat’s ball-handlers are collapsing the defense and Indiana can’t close out on Robinson fast enough. He’s incredibly crafty on the move and that constant motion is moving the pressure around, opening shots for others in addition to the 3s he’s hitting himself.
Like here, when he makes a quick dive in from the corner and pulls his man away from Jae Crowder, who gets the open 3.
The Heat have so many different ways to free him and so many different ways to create good shots off his gravity. There isn’t a great counter for Indiana because trying to smother him off the ball with Oladipo or Brogdon is just going to open things somewhere else. And even if you’re glued to his hip, the slightest hesitation is enough for him to get a good shot.
Meme-able moment: Andre Iguodala blocking jumpers
This pretty much sums up the day for the Pacers. What looks like a wide-open 3-pointer turns into an embarrassing block.