Miami Heat members speak out as teams continue to game plan specifically for Duncan Robinson

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Last season, forward Duncan Robinson was a revelation for the Miami Heat, especially when it came to his 3-point shooting.

This season, however, he has struggled of late, and according to teammate Bam Adebayo, it’s because opposing teams are loading up on Robinson.

“They’re trying to take Duncan out the game,” Adebayo said following the Heat’s 112-94 loss to the Utah Jazz Saturday in which Robinson finished with six field-goal attempts. “The stuff we were doing with Duncan last year, we can’t do this year.”

In the 2019-20 season, he shot a sizzling 44.6 percent from downtown and 39.7 percent during the playoffs as the Heat made their Cinderella run to the NBA Finals.

Although he has hit 39.9 percent of his treys so far this season, he has been somewhat inconsistent, as teams are now preparing to defend him.

“He’s earned this respect from around the league,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Sunday ahead of the Heat’s Monday matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. “He’s being game planned [for] every single night as a priority where probably the first few months of the season last year, he might’ve been further down on a scouting report.”

The Heat were an outstanding 3-point shooting team last season, but this season they are struggling in that department.

Dribble handoffs were a reliable source of good looks for Robinson last year. This year, he has not been nearly as efficient hitting 3-pointers on such sequences.

“Miami scored 1.38 points per possession when Robinson was operating on handoffs last season, which accounted for 23.5 percent of his possessions,” wrote Khobe Price of the Sun Sentinel.

“This season, 28.3 percent of Robinson’s offensive possessions are handoffs and the Heat are scoring 1 point per possession in those situations — a solid mark, but not at the same elite level as last season.”

Robinson himself feels like he saw this movie before in the playoffs several months ago.

“It’s similar coverages to what we saw in the playoffs last year,” Robinson said about how teams are defending him compared to last season. “A lot of the stuff that I was able to get away with during the regular season last year isn’t working anymore. [They’re] just more tuned in, trying to limit my catches and limiting my ability to come off stuff freely.”

At 11-15, the Heat are trying to creep their way back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.