clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami’s first quarter embarrassment exposed the danger of a punchless frontcourt

New, comments

Who should step up to carry the scoring load for the team when they struggle?

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Miami Heat versus Chicago Bulls contest, Goran Dragic suggested he get more minutes with the second unit.

"I even talked to Spo, I came to him and I told him maybe we should get back to that last year maybe playing first four minutes, get out and then maybe come in with the second unit just to break up a little bit those minutes to get some rest," Dragic said.

Previously Dion Waiters enjoyed time with the second unit for his fourth quarter heroics. Neither starting guard desires to get pummeled with blitzes and traps carrying the scoring burden of the team on their backs. Dragic and Waiters will face pressure against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, if Tyron Lue follows his Charlotte Hornets game plan.

"I mean, the best pick-and-roll player in the league I think they said, um, numbers wise," Lue said. "Tough cover, so we just wanted to try and get it out of his hands and I thought by us blitzing him, him trying to dribble around the blitz and split, he got a little worn down, got a little tired, and the shots he usually makes, he missed because I thought the blitz really wore him down."

Chris Fedor provided this clip of Cavs blitz in action.

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were taught by Erik Spoelstra on the nuances of trapping, and brought those lessons to Ohio. Let's see if the master schools his students if they try to steal his own signature defenses.

The Cavs face the Heat on the second leg of a back-to-back, as they fly in from Philadelphia after the 76ers game. Some of Cleveland's players may be on minutes watch for both games. Meanwhile the Cleveland game is the first one of a back-to-back set for Miami, which then sends them up to New York to face the Knicks the very next night.

Without an All-Star backcourt, the Cavs run their plays through James for the starters and Wade off the bench. James (6’8”, 250 lbs) is too strong for either Justise Winslow or Kelly Olynyk to handle, as exposed by the domination of LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap. Will James Johnson or Bam Adebayo (6’10”, 255 lbs) defend LeBron? A.J. Hammons (7’0”, 260 lbs) is on the 15-man roster and could provide a big body to hinder, not completely stop, LeBron.

The Boston Celtics had Kyrie Irving, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a soft Karl-Anthony Towns as their focus on offense. The Cavaliers present an entirely different headache with match-ups, because of their skilled and bruising forwards.

Cleveland's strategy might be to blitz and wear down Dragic and Waiters, and pit their frontcourt of James, Kevin Love and Jae Crowder against Winslow, Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson. The question will be whether Winslow and Richardson can contain and outscore their counterparts of James and Crowder.