Only 1 Miami Heat Star Delivers in Clutch Time, Rest Are ‘Stunningly Bad’

Miami Heat

Getty Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat dribbles during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 25, 2021.

The Miami Heats rollercoaster performance this season has befuddled many. As to why they are so “consistently inconsistent,” as All-Star Jimmy Butler surmised after Miami snapped a three-game win streak with an embarrassing 118-103 loss to the short-handed Atlanta Hawks on April 23, numbers can provide some clarity.

In the simplest terms, Miami’s biggest problem is their inability to score when it matters most. Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported on April 25, “During the defining moments of close games this season, no Eastern Conference team has shot worse than the Heat on long jumpers and three-pointers.”

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During clutch time, which is defined by the NBA as the final five minutes of a game when the score has a margin of five points or less, the Heat fall apart. In clutch time games, Miami is 8-11, shooting 38.5% from the field, scoring 72 of 187 attempts.

The only Heat player who can deliver in clutch time is All-Star Bam Adebayo. Of all the NBA players who’ve made “at least 20 clutch baskets this season,” Adebayo is second only to Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela, Jackson reported. The 23-year-old center is shooting 64.5% during the last minutes of a tight game.

Adebayo also leads the team in minutes played during clutch time. He’s been on the court for 94 minutes out of the Heat’s 114 in the clutch.

The Rest of the Heat’s Roster, Including Butler, Are Pitiful in Clutch Time

Jimmy Butler

GettyJimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second quarter at American Airlines Arena on January 04, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Save for Adebayo, the rest of the Heat team are having pitiful performances during clutch time. If Adebayo is taken out of the equation, Jackson notes “every other Heat player – combined- has shot 33% in the clutch (52 for 156).”

“The Heat is shooting 23.4 percent on clutch threes this season (18 for 77); only Houston and San Antonio have been worse,” Jackson continued. “By comparison, two teams just ahead of the Heat in the Eastern Conference standings – New York and Atlanta – have shot 44.7 and 42.1 percent on clutch threes.”

Tyler Herro has shown the worst regression in clutch point shots. While last season he was shooting 15 for 32 on clutch threes, this season’s hitting 6 for 23. Duncan Robinson, who’s supposed to be the team’s best sharpshooter, is 7 for 22 in the clutch this season, with 4 for 18 from beyond the line.

Even Butler is struggling as the clock ticks down. While the five-time All-Star is 15 for 42 and hitting 1 of 7 on three-pointers, Butler always comes through in his ability to draw fouls and is shooting 26 of 31 free throws in clutch time.

“Not a single Heat wing player is shooting better than 36 percent late in close games,” Jackson reported, and the numbers speak for themselves. Veteran “Goran Dragic is 4 for 15 from the field in the clutch this season,” while 25-year-old “Kendrick Nunn is shooting 3 for 9.”

Even worse, 37-year-old swingman Andre Iguodala is 1 for 5 in clutch time, while the Heat’s newly acquired veteran, Trevor Ariza, is shooting 1 for 4.

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