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Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat shoots during during the three-point contest of the NBA basketball All-Star weekend Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Miami Heat to Begin Second Half of Season Friday

After Bam Adebayo‘s and Tyler Herro‘s eventful NBA All-Star break, the Miami Heat are set to start the second half of the season.

Injury Plagued Season

The Heat were the best team in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2022 NBA Playoffs. This time last season, Miami was 38-21 before the break. But, the Heat are currently sitting in seventh place in the East and are 32-27.

The primary reason for the Heat’s lackluster performance is the number of injuries the team has suffered. Miami’s star forward, Jimmy Butler, has missed 15 games this season. He is currently leading the team in points per game with 21.7. In the 15 games he’s missed, the Heat suffered seven losses.

Butler is not the only one that has missed games. Adebayo, Herro, Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent have all been out at one point this season. Currently, the Heat are without Kyle Lowry (knee), Victor Oladipo (ankle), Nikola Jovic (back) and Omer Yurtseven (left ankle surgery). However, the majority of the players that are out will likely return shortly after the All-Star break.

Questions from Downtown

In relation to the injuries, Miami’s season struggle from behind the arc has contributed to its record.

Last season, the team had a 3-point percentage of 37.9%, which was the best in the league. This year, the team is shooting 33.4% from downtown, the third worst 3-point percentage in the league.

A major contribution to the shooting decline has been the absence of Duncan Robinson. Robinson has shot 40% from beyond the arc in his career but has missed 30 games this season.

Robinson made his return right before the All-Star break against the Brooklyn Nets. Although the Heat fell to the Nets 116-105 and Robinson only had six points, having a player like him on the floor for the remainder of the season will be crucial for the team’s success going forward.

Player Moves

Notably, the Heat signed five-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love. After the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a contract buyout with Love, Miami went after the former NBA Champion. Love has a career average of 17.2 points per game and a career shooting percentage of 37.2% from 3-point range. His ability to shoot efficiently from behind the arc will provide offensive firepower to an area where the Heat have struggled all season.

The team also picked up Cody Zeller from free agency. Zeller last played 27 games for the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds. The nine-year NBA veteran should add some depth on the offensive end and be a rebounding force.

https://twitter.com/MiamiHEAT/status/1627810129180516353?s=20

The Road Ahead

With 23 games remaining in the regular season, the Heat have no time to waste. With the additions of Zeller, Love and several players coming off of injury, the team will look to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

About Miguel Molina

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