Heat are ice cold

by

I’ve watched the last four Heat losses, and I’ve figured out what’s wrong. They have three related problems that are submarining them in the second half of games.

1. Their bench gives them almost nothing. All their offensive production comes from Mario Chalmers and the big three. That makes them a very shallow squad.

2. Their team schemes are very energy intensive on both ends of the floor. James and Wade in particular work very hard to get their points, either sprinting and exploding full court or working hard off the dribble in the half court. On defense they have a lot of trap and recover responsibilities, again James and Wade specifically. This a physically and mentally demanding strategy to execute.

3. They rely heavily on getting to the free throw line.

So you have a team relying almost exclusively on a handful of players to do all the work. The work that handful of players has to do is taxing, even by NBA standards. One of the major advantages that the handful of players enjoys is the ability to get to the free throw line more often than most. Well what happens in the 4th quarter when the energy starts to dip, the opposition tightens up, and the refs swallow their whistles on the frequent contact drawn by Wade and LeBron? Losses. The trap and recover changes to a trap and run out and hope. The full court scoring disappears. The drive and explode turns into a drive and flail. It’s a losing scenario.

This speaks somewhat to the makeup of the team, which is essentially an attempt to win with three dominant perimeter slashers and nothing much else. It also speaks to the current stat-head notion that scoring a high percentage of points at the free throw line is indicative of player’s ability. It is certainly indicative of efficient scoring prowess, but what happens when getting to the line is crucial to a player’s ability to score, and the refs don’t cooperate? We can knock Kobe for always taking those ridiculously difficult last second pull-up fadeaways, but he certainly takes the officials out of the play.

They didn't call him the Iceman for his fingerroll.

It kind of reminds me of the saying in boxing and mixed martial arts, “Don’t leave it to the judges.” Finish the fight with a knockout or a submission if possible, because even if you dominated the fight, the judges’ opinions may not match reality. Miami doesn’t seem to have an option except to leave it in the hands of the judges in close games because their best bet is always a drive to the rim to try to score through a set defense or draw the foul, and lately they are not getting those fouls called in close games. You can blame it on the officials, but frankly, with a few exceptions –cough GAME 7 NBA FINALS!!!!!!!!cough– the refs don’t call questionable contact late. Hell remember when Fisher landed ON TOP OF Brent Barry while he was shooting a game winning three? No whistle. Jordan shoves Russell? No whistle. Reggie shoves Jordan (and Childs), no whistle.

Don’t leave it to the judges.

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10 Responses to “Heat are ice cold”

  1. High Above Courtside Says:

    Huh, you are talking about the Greatest team in NBA history? Just go back and read some of the millions and millions of words written about them last July. It sickened many old school NBA fans who understand that this is a team game, and you just can’t throw together a bunch of dysfunctional fantasy statistics driven players together and expect them to succeed at the highest levels.

    Watch out for Chicago—-that is a team that knows how to play basketball.

    • jpalumbo Says:

      Fantasy stats didn’t drive these guys to play together, but games derived from amassing fantasy stats do seem to be holding them back.

      Chicago does concern me a little more without Perk.

      Jason Palumbo

      Sent from my iPhone

    • jpalumbo Says:

      Also, I find it very impressive how Noah plays the Garnett role in Chicago’s defense. Didn’t think anybody in the league starting at center could switch off an end game pick and roll on LeBron without getting nicely toasted.

      On Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 1:26 PM, Jason Palumbo wrote:

      > Fantasy stats didn’t drive these guys to play together, but games derived > from amassing fantasy stats do seem to be holding them back. > > Chicago does concern me a little more without Perk. > > Jason Palumbo > > Sent from my iPhone >

      • pmadavi Says:

        It helps when you’re allowed to commit two blocking fouls on one drive. Chicago is looking great. They’re playing with toughness and resolve. Unfortunately, they really do rely quite a bit on Luol Deng being a reliable scorer, and in a playoff series, he just cannot sustain that kind of play.

        If I’m Boston, I’m looking at L.A. with a nervous eye now. They just demolished the Spurs with their height and defense looking insurmountable.

      • jpalumbo Says:

        As their official conscience, I consider myself to be a part of the Boston Celtics, and I can confirm that we are very worried about those Lakers. Bynum looks great. You don’t know where we can get some kind of Tyrannosaurus steroids to inject into Shaq’s back, hamstrings, knees, and ankles so he can play the whole playoffs and also defend us from roving packs of velociraptors, do you?

  2. High Above Courtside Says:

    You are a Celtic. No back to the sorry state of South Bitch and his friends. Do yous boys realize that last years model of the Cleveland Cavaliers will win more games that this years Heat? How can this be?
    The Heat are winless this season against San Anton, Chicago, Boston Dallas? Again the greatest team ever assembled? What other team has a link devoted only to them on the “World wide leaders” web site?

    At least Wilt, Jerry and Elgin won one championship, oh and by the way they would destroy the Heat if they had ever played

    “Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five not six, not seven………..”

  3. High Above Courtside Says:

    Well that reinforces my point. What really makes me sick was all the rhetoric that I had to listen to about this alledged team last summer. Heck at the rate their going last years Heat might have been seated higher

  4. jpalumbo Says:

    You do realize that a made Mike Miller three pointer and an Erik Dampier free throw rebound, and the Heat would up 2-1 on the Bulls trailing only Boston in the East? I’ll see what I can do to get Jeff Van Gundy to issue an apology on national television for his preseason statement about the Heat winning 70 games.

  5. High Above Courtside Says:

    Look at them go…….5 in a row……….

    “Not 1….not 2…..not 3……not 4……not 5…….”

    No worries the Bulls play team basketball, they have a balanced TEAM, as well as the MVP who is more concerned about winning than feeding an oversized ego.

    Van Gundy wasn’t the only one, hell I read an article last July that stated the Heat had 3 of the top five players in the league. I would have hurled if I wasn’t laughing so hard.

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