Scottie Barnes stinker in Raptors' tough loss to Heat simply can't happen anymore

Barnes is great, but he was a negative for most of this game.
Dec 6, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (11) drives to the net against Scottie Barnes
Dec 6, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (11) drives to the net against Scottie Barnes / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors went into an immediate hole against a Miami Heat team that didn't have Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro. After climbing out of that 22-7 rut and riding some hot shooting from OG Anunoby and others, Toronto looked for Barnes to keep them afloat after leading at halftime.

Thanks to a terrible third quarter in which Miami started off on a 16-0 run that lasted six minutes, the Heat managed to pull in front. Barnes finished the third quarter with just two points on a pathetic 1-6 shooting from the field with three turnovers, which is not a stat line becoming of an emerging superstar.

Miami pulled out a 112-103 win that dropped Toronto to 9-12 on the season. The raw box score numbers (12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) look alright for Barnes due to his usual fourth-quarter burst, but he made just five of his 17 shots and had some real problems with shot selection in this game.

If the Raptors want to eventually transition to a Barnes-led style on both sides of the ball, games like this against beatable competition simply can't happen. If he's going to be that sort of player in the future, he needs to be held to the standard that names like Siakam have been measured against before him.

Scottie Barnes must be more efficient after Toronto Raptors' loss to Heat

Even the white-hot Barnes can't escape the consistency problems that have plagued this team. Barnes remains a triple-double threat every time he steps on the court. However, at his worst, he can be inefficient and go to long without making his presence known. These flaws need to be corrected as soon as possible.

Barnes has long had an issue, in the minds of some, with being too passive on the offensive end. The fact that he ended the first half with three shot attempts while Dennis Schroder had 11 is unacceptable. While he can often make up those numbers with hot scoring in the fourth quarter, that doesn't always negate three subpar efforts prior.

Tonight's performance wasn't an example of any schematic friction caused by him and Pascal Siakam fighting for dominance. He was just missing open shots, turning the ball over, and generally looking out of sorts. The Heat do that to a lot of star players, but putting up a clunker after a long break without Adebayo is going to sting.

Barnes has generally been excellent this season, as his shooting is much better and his defense is much improved. However, this year is just as much about him taking that next step forward as it is about wins and losses, and nights like these will be enough to ruin whatever positive momentum he had going for him.