Turn the Heat Around

Dwyane Wade limited Kobe Bryant to 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists on Christmas Day.

The Heat, the Heat are who we thought they were.

Remember those championship expectations that veered way off course in the month of November?

Well, they’re back.

Oh, how winning cures all that ails. We are no longer speculating Pat Riley’s seemingly imminent return to coaching or talking crazy about a possible Chris Bosh trade. There is no more talk of Lebron playing too many minutes, Erik Spoelstra not being Wade’s guy, Lebron acting unprofessional or the team not getting enough “chill time.”

The Miami Heat have started winning like so many thought they would prior to the season. Although their 12 game winning streak was snapped this week by the Dallas Mavericks, the Heat have undergone a massive transformation as a team in the last month and on Christmas day the nation saw the force that the Heat can be as they spanked the Lakers 96-80.

The Heat’s biggest problem and the reason that is supposed to stop them from winning a championship was their lack of length up front. They are supposed to be soft in the paint but yesterday their hard team defence made up for what they are short of in the middle.

Yesterday afternoon, the Heat were not giving anything easy to the Lakers and for the most part they didn’t allow easy buckets to the Lakers’ best players. They have two wing men that can play great defence when they put their mind to it and that was put on display yesterday when Wade was able to shut Kobe down to an extent that many other players cannot attest to.

However, Chris Bosh is still blocking shots at the lowest rate of his career by a fair margin and rebounding at his lowest rate since his rookie season. Until Bosh proves that he can continually rebound and block shots at a higher rate he will continue to hold the reputation as that soft as a marshmallow big man. With that being said, Chris Bosh is improving on the defensive end and his rebounding is steadily improving. He did a solid job on Lamar Odom yesterday while also grabbing 13 rebounds, which was made easier by the Lakers missing a massive amount of shots. With regards to the Odom matchup he is able to handle that one better compared to other back to the basket big man. Odom generally possesses a great advantage in his footwork on the perimeter, but that is somewhat negated when facing Bosh as that is a quality that Bosh possesses too. If the Heat do indeed end up facing the Lakers in the NBA final, I believe that the Odom-Bosh matchup will be the one that decides the series.

On the offensive end, the Heat do not look like 5 separate guys on the floor anymore. They have begun to play like a cohesive unit rather than the stagnant isolation, screen and roll team that they were not too long ago. Their offence still revolves around isolation and screen and roll plays, but the difference is the movement that they are creating out of those plays. The ball is moving more out of screen and rolls and players are learning where and how to move without the ball. Moreover, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James appear to have finally made some concessions for each other in sharing the offensive load.

In relative terms Bosh still isn’t seeing nearly the amount of touches on offence as Wade and Lebron, probably for a good reason, but I still think that the offence should be run through Bosh a bit more. Bosh has become the beneficiary in receiving easy baskets off of wing player penetration, nevertheless running a few more plays through him in the offence could add just a different dynamic to their offence.

Mike Miller should be finding himself as part of the Heat rotation in no time

Miami shot a decent percentage as an entire team from deep yesterday but isn’t it just a little scary that other than Lebron they shot 4-19 from beyond the arc as a team?

Sure, Lebron probably isn’t shooting 5 of 6 from 3 on a nightly basis but James Jones also isn’t going 1 for 6 on most nights either. There were a lot of open looks that weren’t hit yesterday and when Mike Miller gets back into the groove the Heat are going to be just that much more dangerous.

Many thought that the trio of players teamed up in Miami to avoid the difficulty and adversity that goes along with winning a championship but as we have all seen the Heat have already faced some real hardship.

It has to be a good sign for the team that they were able to overcome this early difficult and persevere to the point where they are at now. It has sunk in the players that no one is going to hand them a championship and nothing is going to be easy from here on in.

People say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. At least as a team, things got tough and the Miami Heat have sure gotten going.


Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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12 Responses to Turn the Heat Around

  1. pmadavi says:

    Hi Chris!

    I saw a lot of what you did, and probably the most significant thing was guys getting the proper rotations on offense. That is to say, folks getting to the seams when Bron and Wade drive. They’re making it easier for Bron and Wade to create good shots for others by getting to the right spot. Bosh in particular was great about that yesterday. And of course, with 24 hour sports coverage, things are overblown. I got caught up in it myself, thinking Spoelstra could not handle Bron’s ego. But all it took was 30 games and the Heat are starting to live up to the incredibly lofty expectations they set for themselves. It’s been fun watching them develop.

  2. Great analysis. I still think they’re not big enough or rugged enough to win the East if the Celtics stay healthy and get Kendrick “Mushmouth” Perkins back and he’s ready to roll. Playoff basketball is about defense and half-court offense in crunch time and that’s where their weak points are amplified.

  3. Johnny Navarrette says:

    Very good article. Before the season, I always said that if the Heat’s trio ever clicks, they are going to be very tough to beat. I give a lot of credit to the Heat for their defense and hitting shots when they were open. The Lakers on the other hand were just asleep defensively and they had open looks but just did not knock down those shots.

    Lebron has always been a player who if can hit three’s consistently in a game, is almost a sure bet to have a monster game and yesterday it resulted in a triple double. When he is hitting jumpshots, forget it, the guy is impossible to guard.

    The Heat have a tough road ahead to take out the Magic and Celtics, but if they can click on a consistent basis heading into the playoffs, they may very well find themselves in the Finals.

    I respect the Heat greatly because they have two elite players in Wade and Lebron, their issue is always going to be either of those two being too ball dominant and messing up the offensive rhythm. It was a good showing for the Heat and took advantage of the Lakers.

    Do I believe the Lakers had a great game? Not by a long shot. Too much watching and waiting for Kobe to take over, leaving defensive assignments, and not playing inspired basketball. The same thing happened part of last year and it took Kobe getting injured for the team to understand how to play the system, hopefully that doesn’t happen again but I know the team will turn it around eventually. Too much experience and battle tested players to just fade away.

    But with how much hype the game got, a Finals matchup would definitely be fun to watch when both teams are playing at a championship level.

    p.s Thanks for checking out my blog. I’ll definitely keep checking in. Anyone else can check out my blog, So Cal Sportsology at the link posted : http://laded.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/lakersheat-just-another-regular-season-game/

  4. jmulder26 says:

    The Heat are still without another starter in Udonis Haslem, when he comes back they will be even more of a handful.

  5. Bluechipkid says:

    As long as LBJ plays as part of the Heat unit, they will be to hot to handle. Let him spread the floor and create shot opportunities for his teammates. Let him play defense and give him the ball in transition with D-Wade in the wings for another (primary) scoring option. The Heat did a great job in jelling Bron, D-Wade, and Bosh in 30 games only.

    I am quite disappointed with the way the Lakers play ball yesterday. Gasol, Odom, and Bynum are nowhere to be found as Bosh made his way inside. Artest and Barnes’ defenses did not stop Miami Heat’s Big Three juggernaut. The Heat definitely played good basketball on Christmas Day. Even third-center Erik Dampier scored some bucket on the Lakers.

    The low scoring production of Kobe was expected as Wade and LeBron took turns in challenging his shots. A measly 17 points was a far cry from his 27.4 ppg average. But expect Kobe to bounce back in his next game. Could it be the Spurs will absorb the brunt of the Lakers’ Christmas loss on their next game?

    We’ll see if that happens and the Heat continue their winning ways. I am looking forward to Kobe and LeBron’s second game for another heated and exciting basketball.

    P.S. Please check on my blog, for more sports news and opinions.

  6. Pingback: Heat Versus Lakers Game Analysis « Double Dribble

  7. tophatal says:

    Chris

    I’m still not sold on the Heat merely because they haven’t an effective center and point guard. Granted their recent form has been impressive they’re still a ways off from where I truly believe Riley and Spoelstra wants them to be.

    tophatal ……….

  8. Pingback: Daily Nerd: Is Blake Griffin the best dunker in the NBA, the lackadaisical Kings and some Yao rumors « High School Basketball Nerd™

  9. Chris,

    Something is wrong with the Lakers. It’s difficult to put your finger on it, but it seems like they’re not clicking. Their bench isn’t playing very well and it seems like when Kobe gets hot he gets hot early only to fall off and have a depressing second half.

    Sometimes when you put all of your eggs in one basket, the basket falls to the floor, and then I think we all know what happens next.

    Meehan

    Meehan

  10. Mookie says:

    Miami desperately needs a big man. This rotation of journeymen and then the declining Ilgauskas will get them killed in the playoffs.

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