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Miami Heat’s Three-Point and Defensive Strength: A Key Winning Medley

Erik Spoelstra has really helped Miami Heat's three-point shooting.

The Miami Heat’s three-point shooting percentages from the three are impressive this season. For a team that is far from being considered a scoring juggernaut, one could argue that their high three-point efficiency keeps them above water.

Miami Heat’s Three-Point Shooting and Improved Defense Are A Key Winning Medley Down The Stretch

The Miami Heat Are In the Points Per Game Basement, But Is That The Whole Story?

The Heat are the 27th-ranked team, averaging only 109.9 points per game. The only teams worse than them are the Portland Trailblazers, Charlotte Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies. Even the Detroit Pistons are scoring higher. Yet, the Heat are presently positioning themselves for the playoffs. Miami isn’t the type of team to run opponents off the floor at home or on the road. However, the Heat roster has eight guys who currently average 35% or higher from long distance. That luxury, combined with the Heat’s defensive improvements lately, could be a critical relationship down the stretch.

The 40% and Higher Guys

Being led by Jimmy Butler, who, while not considered a great shooter, is still dropping them in at 41.1%. Behind him are well-adjusted rooking Nikola Jovic, shooting 41.0%, and Haywood Highsmith at 40.6. Highsmith may be the guy with the least playing time on this list, but his production is productive when he sees the floor. Duncan Robinson is having a fantastic year after a 2022–2023 campaign that saw him struggle and lose playing time; he has regained his long-range talents, averaging 40.1%.

The 35% and Higher Guys, and Kevin Love

The next tier leads off with Tyler Herro. Before he went down, he averaged 39.9% from three. At the middle of the pack, Herro is still the Heat’s most potent three-point shooter. The recently added shooter Patty Mills shoots 38.2%. His playing time has been up and down since he arrived in Miami, but his entire career going back to the San Antonio Spurs predicated on his shooting ability, and when he does see the floor now, he’s there for his shooting. Caleb Martin and Terry Rozier round out the group with 36.1% and 35.8% three-point shooting averages. Watching Terry Rozier light up the New York Knicks this week shows he is more than capable of upping his clip. Where does Kevin Love fit? Right now, he’s sitting just below 35%, but he offers shooting consistency, as he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers during their 2014–2018 championship finals runs.

The Defence and Shooting Balancing Act

The Heat are a bottom-five, all-around scoring team. However, with half of the roster shooting high percentages from three, accompanied by their recent clampdown at the defensive end (shout out to Bam Adebayo), these two key factors could undoubtedly benefit Miami going forward.

A Full Defensive Turnabout Just In Time

Miami ended the month of January with a seven-game losing skid. They held the 13th-ranked defense, allowing 114.3 points per 100 opponent possessions. Fast-forward to now: They are the fifth-best defensively rated team, on a three-game win streak, and looking to extend that streak against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday. Keeping this defensive turn-around going with Adebayo anchoring the paint and counterbalancing that with high-level long-distance shooting, Miami is a threat. Yes, even to the Boston Celtics. Again.


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