Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

Kurt —  January 15, 2007

Webber to Detroit. Not a shock, but Webber made his choice. It wasn’t money or effort on the Lakers part (Kobe and Mitch talked to Webber over the weekend). The issue was playing time — in LA he’d have to fight for it, in Detroit he’ll get a lot more right from the start, particularly at the five.

Overloading the TiVo. The Lakers, The always entertaining drunken acceptance speeches at the Golden Globes. Two more hours of Jack Bauer. Man, that’s a lot of television I want to watch crammed into one night, so if the Lakers could win this in a blowout and let me turn the channel early it would help.

No Shaq. No Pat Riley either. Of course, if the Lakers don’t do a better job defensively on Dwyane Wade than they did on Christmas it really won’t matter who else shows up for the Heat.

Stopping Wade. Christmas may have been the worst example of pick-and-roll defense from the Lakers all season, and so you get a spectacular game from Wade.

Wade used 33% of the Heat’s possessions, and despite the heavy workload he shot 62.5% (eFG%), had 11 assists and had an offensive rating 140. He scored almost a point a minute.

Kobe was on Wade for chunks of the game, but #24s lateral quickness is not what it was, and he was slowed out high by good picks set by the Heat. The other problem was that Kwame, apparently afraid that Wade would blow by him in he went out and hedged on the pick (coming out and playing Wade right after the pick stayed back near the paint. So Wade came off the screen, turned toward the hoop and got a full head of steam toward the basket before Kwame was even in the picture. Bad idea. You saw the results.

Of late Bynum has been much better about coming out on the picks and hedging, forcing the ball handler to do something other than just drive straight to the basket. He needs to do a lot of that tonight, as does Turiaf when he is in there.

The other Heat players. These are the guys you want taking shots, although there are things to watch out for.

We’ll start with Jason Kapono, who shot 78.6% (eFG%) against the Lakers last meeting. He’s hot right now, shooting 65% on threes in the last 10 games, the Lakers can’t give him uncontested looks from beyond the arc.

Of late the Heat also have gotten solid play from a variety of sources: Alonso Mourning, Jason Williams, Dorrel Wright, Udonis Haslem and James Posey. They have not been asked to do a lot on offense, but most have hit key shots, pulled down boards and been good role players the last week.

That said, if James Posey beats you so be it. You can’t let Wade beat you.

Shoot better. The Lakers shot poorly last meeting, led by Kobe’s 23.5% from the floor. Can’t do that again. The Lakers also had a lot of shots blocked — Wade had four and Mourning had three.

The star of the game for the Lakers was Turiaf, who played 20 minutes and had 13 points shooting 60%. Walton also shot 60%. With Kobe still not 100% because of the groin these guys and others need to step up.

Things to look for: The Lakers played Miami in the middle of a long road trip and came out flat on Christmas. Now the Lakers catch the Heat on the last game of their six-game road trip, and those final games are often let down games. Something to hope for.

Of course, the Heat come in having won four in a row.

Bynum needs to stay out of foul trouble dealing with Wade’s quickness and Mourining’s strength. How well he plays, particularly on defense, will b key to the Lakers success.

Kurt

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16 responses to Preview and Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. Hooray. We have another chance to play my favorite NBA drinking game called Wade on his Ass. Every time Wade hits the deck, you drink. Hope you don’t have any plans for tomorrow.

  2. uy– all the hot points you have covered
    are nags on the squad.

    I’m concerned the Lakes will play like they did
    on the road trip and expect the whistle to blow
    every time Wade is near the paint,

    Drew Bynum may get two quick fouls out of the box
    just by dint of trying to be assertive, and then B Cook
    will come in and play toreador defense,

    the Heat will swing passes to Kapono,
    and he and Williams must not be left alone
    out in the suburbs.

    Now Mr. Parker has been laying off the Nyquil
    and staying active throughout the game.
    Since KB is still hobbled, he’ll surely continue
    creating ops for Mr. P early.

    Kobe’s surely going to save his D strength
    until the second half, so the first quarter
    is even more important in putting Wade on the skids
    and force the Heat to option Alonzo and maybe get him
    into foul trouble quickly.

    Which means Luke, who has not been sharp
    these last three games, will need an extra bowl
    of Wheaties today, and Jordan Farmar too.

    I want today to be the day
    the Lakers finally shake these pests.

    We’d have a better chance if the squad was full strength
    of course, but it would be even better to see the team
    effort that we have witnessed in the last Dallas game
    manifest itself to stamp out the last vestiges
    of the “Kobe vs. Shaq” bacteria.

    – 5 -

  3. Can we all just agree that D-Wades eyebrows are freakish?
    I think that is how he manges to get so many whistles, the refs are afraid of looking directly at the eyebrows.

    I really feel that if the Lakers bring intensity they can easily win this game. Given how badly thew were trounced on Christmas I think Phil will have no problem with the motivation, and as ever the Staples center crwod will be a huge boost for our intrepid 5.

  4. The game ending play was worth the price of admission. Kobe showed amazing maturity and Radman did what they pay him for–at last!

  5. Radman? Was he even on the floor?

  6. Lakers shot 111% (eFG%) as a team. Holy crap.

  7. Oops, nevermind. How did I screw that up? The Lakers eFG% as a team was 87.3% which is still gaudy as hell.

  8. You may expect this kind of bias toward a very, very good player (Wade) on the road, but at HOME???? It was made more egregious by the way Kobe got fouled repeatedly across the wrists without getting any calls.

    I sincerely hope Phil mails in the play where Kobe drove to the basket, got HACKED across the arms by two players, and got the ball back outside late in the game.

    This kind of officiating is not only poor, but plays to violence against the perpetrators. If the Lakers hadn’t won, I suspect the police would have been necessary to escort the refs out of the building.

  9. what’s with the officiating? as biased as the christmas day game was, you wouldn’t be that “shocked” since the heat were at home. But this? Even Steve Kerr and Marv Albert couldn’t help but comment that “Kobe can’t help but wonder why everytime theres a slight bump on wade, its a foul, yet he gets hit on the arm on a shot attempt, yet no call is made”. The two moving screens called on zo in the 4th quarter was a direct result of the lobbying/technical foul that was given to Kobe. He had to get a T just to get the attention of the refs on those moving screens. Are the refs and the league out to make sure that Kobe and the Lakers don’t get to the playoffs?

  10. black helicopters anyone? seriously, you people are starting to sound like john r.

    unfavorable calls in two games does not prove (or even tend to prove) a conspiracy.

  11. I think it’s more the refs love Wade than the refs hate Kobe.

  12. I agree with the assessment by Magic and other experts that the Lakers are not in the same league as the Mavs, Spurs, Suns, (Heat?) but regular season wins under their belt against those teams will be great mental cache to utilize in the playoffs.

  13. Right now it is the big three in the west and then a step down to the second tier (which includes the Lakers). I don’t think the Heat get out of the weak East.

  14. As for the officiating, it was not great, But it’s not great every night, some nights Kobe gets calls he maybe shouldn’t and the borderline stuff goes our way, Then there was last night. Good teams rise abo e that and get wins.

  15. How many times must one rise above in order to beat the Heat? Do the refs scan the defenders eyes and see if the guy intends on approaching Wade?

    See, that’s the problem… the new NBA ruling not only included the T-foul (very stupid) thing but also had the following…

    1. If a players looks at Wade when he is driving to the basket, a foul must be called…

    2. Wade doesn’t travel, ever.

    3. When another superstar is on the floor, he gets no calls… Only Wade is fouled…

    On a side note, if I played in the NBA I would be ejected all the time… How can anyone keep their cool when they see stuff like that happening? And this is only a regular season game… Imagine playing a 7 game series against Wade? (Ask that tall blonde guy in Dallas about it)

    PS: I was suspended in the portuguese league for two matches after having a bogus flagrant foul called on me. I was so mad, that they had to escort me out of the field so I wouldn’t hit the ref. I’m not proud of it at all, but my point is this: If that can happen to a normal guy playing in a minor league, imagine yourself playing NBA playoffs agaisnt the best of the best and having a ref purposedly benefiting the other team… Wouldn’t you go berserk?

  16. Kurt wrote: “That said, if James Posey beats you so be it. You can’t let Wade beat you.”

    Don’t let Brian Hill catch you saying that! You can’t let the James Poseys of the league beat you!