clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The one harsh truth about the team Miami must face if they plan to succeed in the playoffs

New, comment

The Heat’s overtime 110-109 loss against Brooklyn illustrated what would cause a quick first round exit in postseason.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The avoidable loss to Brooklyn Nets serves as a wake-up for the Miami Heat coaches on one inescapable fact:

The Heat don’t have the talent to win championships playing a small ball style.

Miami doesn’t have a James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, et al, as a dominant force when they downsize their lineup during a game.

When an enemy takes out their rim protector, then it’s time to go Milwaukee Bucks on them and punish them where it hurts the most: at the rim.

The Heat defeated the Bucks in all three of their games by attacking and defending in the paint, because they had a definite advantage there.

The numbers in games where the Heat win or lose, shows the slight, but significant differences that gave them an edge in their wins.

Heat Wins versus Loses

STAT WINS LOSES DIFF BUCKS
STAT WINS LOSES DIFF BUCKS
PTS 105.5 100.9 4.60 98.0
FGM 39.4 37.9 1.50 35.0
FGA 83.6 86.2 -2.60 82.0
FG% 47.1 44.0 3.10 42.7
2PTM 27.6 27.6 0.00 24.7
2PTA 53.0 55.5 -2.50 55.7
2PT% 52.1 49.7 2.35 44.3
3PTM 11.8 10.3 1.50 10.3
3PTA 30.6 30.7 -0.10 26.3
3P% 38.7 33.5 5.20 39.2
2PM/3PM 2.7 2.7 -0.02 3.1
2PA/3PA 2.0 1.8 0.17 2.3
2P%/3P% 1.3 1.5 -0.14 1.3
FTM 14.8 14.8 0.00 17.7
FTA 19.6 19.8 -0.20 21.7
FT% 75.6 75.1 0.50 81.5
FTA/FGA 23.4 23.0 0.48 26.5
OREB 8.8 9.6 -0.80 8.7
DREB 35.6 32.1 3.50 40.0
REB 44.4 41.8 2.60 48.7
AST 23.4 22.0 1.40 22.3
TOV 14.0 15.1 -1.10 15.3
STL 7.9 7.1 0.80 6.3
BLK 6.2 4.2 2.00 7.3
BLKA 4.0 5.2 -1.20 4.7
PF 19.9 20.6 -0.70 22.3
PFD 19.7 19.1 0.60 22.7
+/- 9.2 -9.3 18.50 9.7

The Heat made more field goal attempts in their loses versus their wins, but compensated with a better shot selection and out-rebounding other teams on average.

In the games against the perimeter-oriented Bucks, the Heat succeeded by drawing almost 23 personal fouls a game, attempting fewer 3-pointers (26 versus the normal 30), getting better opportunities at the rim, and cashing in on their rebounding edge.

Sloppy and lazy entry passes into restricted area cause major problems

From my own personal perspective, part of blame of not taking advantage of Heat’s size at the rim lies on the Heat guards and wings making lazy entry passes into the restricted area for Hassan Whiteside and other bigs to score and draw fouls.

Of course the enemy will stop the obvious lobs, pocket passes, dribble hand-offs, and other easy-to-defend attempts for baskets near the rim, which even viewers at home can spot a mile away, so more creative methods to feed the beasts in the restricted area are necessary.

Other teams will goad Miami into playing a centerless style of basketball, because they know the Heat don’t have players talented enough to consistently win that way, and as a bonus, Miami’s best rebounders get sent to the bench.

If the enemy tries to bait Miami with that strategy, the Heat don’t have to bite hook, line and sinker, but use the edge they have of exploiting mismatches near the rim and use the scheme that worked so well in the three wins against the Bucks.