Drop Steps

How to beat the Heat or at least stay close

Let’s get one thing straight. This is Lebron’s time and the iron is hot so what’s an aspiring competitor to do ?
The Miami Heat are athletic, experienced, hungry and extremely well coached. Did I say they are well coached ? Currently there are only two teams in the NBA that are capable of matching the Heat’s combination of grit and moxie and one of the two just lost their star to a second knee injury.

The other is San Antonio….

Conventional coaching wisdom dictates that a teams weaknesses should be minimized and their strengths maximized. Miami’s lack of size is well documented but there are other factors worth considering:

1. Legendary team defense but average to poor individual defenders.

2. Great three point shooting but very few shot creators after Lebron and Dwayne.

3. Swarming help defenders but very few actual shot blockers. This point was exacerbated
during the playoff series against Indiana when Pacers center Roy Hibbert repeatedly
caught the ball close to the basket and gathered himself for a second and a half or just
long enough for Mario Chalmers and D. Wade to fly past him and then make what amounted
to easy shots.

Most opponents allow the Heat to establish tempo and terrain in determining how the game will be played. Notice how coaches Greg Popovich and Frank Vogel made the exact same mistake late in the playoffs when they removed their biggest players from the game to match up with Miami’s lack of size.

A recent game against the Detroit Pistons was telling. The Pistons spread the floor and utilized their ball handling players to attack off the dribble. Miami would rotate to defend but were unable to keep the Pistons Bigs from getting offensive rebounds.

Miami’s bread is buttered with their intermittent traps but the Pistons took advantage by swinging the ball to their hot three point shooters.

So, to have a snowballs chance a team should prepared to:

On defense, stay home on Miami’s three point shooters even at the risk of being bludgeoned repeatedly by Lebron. Make jump shooters out of D. Wade and LeBron. Remember you have to give up something and checking the Heat’s three point shooters will always keep you in the game provided you:

On offense, reduce turnovers and be prepared for the Heat’s aggressive reaching as most referees will allow contact when one team is the aggressor. Feature players that can shot create off the dribble and if you don’t have any then shame on you. And last but certainly not least. Remind your big men that the guy forcing them to pass the ball out of the post is Mario Chalmers.

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