Miami Heat prefer to play at a measured “back-in-the-day,” defense-first game pace, and teams in the NBA know it.
As late as the third quarter the Sixers had a 19-point advantage, 81-62, seemingly on the way to an easy victory in Milwaukee.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had other ideas as reported by ESPN.
Speeding up the game was a key, according to Antetokounmpo.
”We had (Joel) Embiid on the floor,” Antetokounmpo said. “It is hard for him to play a fast pace. That’s what I told the guys to do. That’s what we did. That’s why we were able to get a lead there.”
The Sixers committed a season high 26 turnovers, as the Bucks kicked on the jets for 27-point turnaround, 56-29, to finish out the game.
Have teams been doing that to Miami this season in the games where the Heat squandered several second-half double-digit leads: simply cranking up the pace?
The Heat have a 2-6 record against faster-paced teams, so how does Miami fare against the slowest ones?
- Memphis Grizzlies 2-0
- San Antonio Spurs 0-2
- Sacramento Kings 0-1
- Dallas Mavericks 2-0
- Utah Jazz 2-0
- Milwaukee Bucks 3-0
The Bucks switched gears by design, went from a slow-paced team to a fast one targeting one specific player, Embiid, and the strategy earned them a much-needed win.
How will coach Erik Spoelstra‘s Miami squad handle similar situations when teams use the Los Angeles Lakers strategy and try to extinguish the Heat’s flames?
Notably the Bucks faster pace resulted in the Sixers fumbling the ball for a season high in turnovers, which also happens when the Heat are confronted with speedy units.
Other teams notice the Heat’s 2-6 versus the 9-3 disparity in the results between fast and slow paced lineups.
The victory over the slow-footed Andre Drummond and Detroit Pistons made Heat fans feel good for a game, but today’s best playoff teams have the talent to either outrun teams or play “back-in-the-day” basketball, based on the game situation.
Antetokounmpo gave a shout out to the importance of tempo against the 76ers, and used the strategy to perfection, as will other teams down the road when they’re exposed to the Heat and try to cool them down.