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Revisiting film of embarrassing loss to Hornets shows why Heat struggled in first part of season

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Heat defense works best when they are up in arms to disrupt plays for a full 48 minutes.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A second look at the Miami Heat blowing a 19-point lead versus the Charlotte Hornets shows Heat players walking around the floor, with their arms down, just watching the game. A video from a NCAA Villanova game shows how a top defensive team causes turnovers, forces bad passes, gets traveling calls for opponents, picks the pockets of other players, by always keeping their arms up to deflect the ball.

One comment noted that how Nova employed a "heat style defense."

"I saw Nova play man to man, zone, press into a zone, press with traps. I was so confused. I could imagine for players on North Carolina they were too lol. They did an outstanding job in man to man with that heat style defense, by fronting the post and coming over with help on lobs from the weakside. Totally threw a wrench into NC offense."

Compare Nova's aggressive, but not reckless, defense against how Miami appeared passive and lost versus the Hornets, from the 4:52 mark onward of the video.

At the 5:00 mark, all 5 Miami players are bunched up in the painted area, and Cody Zeller scores against all 5 of them. In the next clip, all 5 Heat players are in the painted area, leaving Kemba Walker open for an 3-point basket. At 6:08 mark players stand by with arms down as Marvin Williams blows by for 2 points.

Maybe fatigue was an issue in the 3rd and 4th quarters, but seeing Heat players aimlessly walk around in the painted area, with their arms at their sides, doesn't represent what Heat Culture is all about. Revisiting that game shows how difficult staying focused for 48 minutes, for all 82 games will be this season.

The competition Villanova faced was not a NBA-caliber one, which can handle pressure defenses. The effort from the Nova players though, was far more intense that what Miami displayed in their home opener last year. Perhaps that's why the Heat started 11-30 in their first 41 games. The second 41 games showed more intensity from Miami’s players, maybe not coincidentally with the arrival of Okaro White.