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Early numbers suggest the Miami Heat should quicken the pace on offense

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Finding the open man may not be the best strategy for the Heat.

Leon Halip-USA TODAY Sports

Team after team have stopped the Heat's offense by double-teaming the ball-handler who runs the half-court set.

Whether it is Dwyane Wade or Goran Dragic, other teams double-up on either one, forcing them into outlet passes that waste time on the 24-second clock. The Heat wind up passing the ball to each until someone throws up an ill-advised shoot or passing into a slew of defenders leading to a turnover.

NBA statistics on Miami tell an interesting story about their field goal percentages as the shot clock winds down.

Time (sec) FG% 3PT%
24-22 63 33
22-18 55 29
18-15 45 34
15-07 41 27
07-04 45 34
04-00 46 40



The Miami Heat shoot at an astonishing 63% clip on fast-break points and over 55% with less than 7 seconds left on the shot clock. Their worst shots are taken with 7 to 15 seconds on the clock, in both FG% and 3PT% .

The 3-point shooting shows a whole other pattern with team hitting 40% of them with less than four seconds left on the clock. I cannot explain that except that the shooter is finally left open and has better concentration on his shot when it is a do-or-die situation. Perhaps that's why 3-pointers taken early in shot clock do poorly: lack of getting in rhythm.

These figures were after only the first eleven games, but they do prove the Heat shoot over ten percent better in transition. Running set plays yields a huge 20% drop in FG% over shots taken within the first four seconds.

The opposite applies to their 3-point accuracy, which shows a noticeable increase towards the end of the shoot clock, when it reaches a 40% success rate.

The numbers suggest the Heat's eFG% is 60% at the rim within the first six seconds and shooting 3-pointers as the clock winds down.

The worst offensive results for Miami, on average, are by taking early 3-point shoots or trying to force a pass into the paint later on when defenders make them try to convert a low-percentage shot.

As the Heat get the ball they need to push the ball up the court as soon as possible to stop the ball-handlers being double-teamed or having guys like Greg Monroe get back in time. The figures show the Heat convert on almost 60% of their attempts if done fast enough.

Past the 15 second mark, it pays to wait to find an open 3-point shot, preferably Tyler Johnson, Chris Bosh or Luol Deng, or even Josh Richardson (?), because that takes the bigs out of the picture and the longer rebounds gives the Heat guards a chance to get the ball.

The Heat's record so far shows their magic number is scoring 96 points. Curiously, scoring more leads to better defense as the Golden State Warriors have shown by cutting down the amount of time the other team has the ball and forcing the other team to play low-scoring defensive players to guard Stephen Curry and company.

The Phoenix system of seven seconds or less has the percentages favor Miami by 10% to 20% FG%.

The shots between 7-15 sec at 41% are the lowest pct on shot clock. The entire concept of waiting for an open man is flawed because the figures just do not substantiate it. As one of lowest scoring teams in NBA the Heat have to face reality before it is too late and fix a broken ideology ASAP.

The idea is favor the percentages by shooting 7 seconds or less and defensively make the other team shoot 2 pointers 7 seconds or more. It seems with 3 pointers the more time the higher the percentage made.