There’s no secret that the Miami Heat need to make some changes between Game 1 and Game 2. And clearly some of those adjustments need to come on offense, including how to use Hassan Whiteside.
But after giving up 74 points in the second half, the focus needs to be on the defensive side of the ball. And after getting smoked by 27 points in a playoff game, maybe they should listen to anyone with some ideas...including me.
Here’s my thoughts on the adjustments needed on defense to get a win in Game 2.
ADJUSTMENT #1: Close out on all players
Please, help less and stop giving up so many open looks. The Sixers made 18-28 from three and had 34 assists on 45 made field goals. The lesson? Everyone out there can shoot. Well, everyone except Amir Johnson, you can leave him open.
But outside of that, the adjustment needs to be made to leave less space. Ersan Ilyasova and Dario Saric are tall enough that they don’t need much space to get off a look and they were making them. JJ Redick Marco Bellineli, and Robert Covington need to be covered. The Sixers can score off of drives from players from time to time but they thrive on the open look.
The Heat need to close out on penetration better. Secondly, these looks can’t be given in simple pick and roll defense. Bam Adebayo and Hassan Whiteside cannot fade and drop down — it leaves their man open to pop and hit or if the primary defender goes over the screen, it leaves and open shot for the ball handler. They need to be more clear on their defense here.
ADJUSTMENT #2: Try to box out
Yea, I’m not going to spend a ton of time here, but the Heat gave up 17 offensive rebounds. That can’t happen. And that’s not counting when we got the rebound and then they caused a jump ball tie-up. The Heat gave up too many second chance opportunities to the Sixers.
This starts from the inside with the bigs getting position, and it ends with the perimeter players making sure their opponents are not getting into the lower defensive box for a rebound. All five guys have to have the same priority, secure the rebound.
ADJUSTMENT #3: Give Ben Simmons different looks
Simmons was not the only problem the Heat had. But, he will be the most consistent problem. The Sixers will likely not shoot that well from three again, and they may not make as many difficult shots. But Simmons will continue to be an issue running the offense and seeing the floor.
I think the Heat need to throw the gameplan at him and make it different consistently. Lay off of him and make him do something creative. Pressure the hell out of him and see if he gets flustered. Put size on him, put speed on him, play some 3-2 zone. I don’t know, but make Simmons constantly think and guess about the type of defense he will be seeing. When he gets comfortable, he will figure things out and be effective.
The Heat need to figure out the best way to guard a player like him if they wan to play better. Simmons had 17 points, 14 assists and 9 rebounds in Game 1.
What do you think?
Are there other defensive adjustments the Heat need to make? Put them in the comments and I will send them to Spoelstra when we exchange emails later...