Preview & Chat: The Miami Heat

Kurt —  December 4, 2009

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Records: Lakers 14-3 (1st in West) Heat 10-8 (5th in East)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 107.5 (14th in league) Heat 105.8 (20th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 99.2 (2nd in league) Heat 106.2 (15th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Heat: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Quentin Richardson, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O’Neal

The Lakers Coming in: I think we need to make a distinction when we talk about the Lakers (this came up in the comments): We need to distinguish between the “bench play” — when Odom, Farmar and Brown play parts of the second quarter — and what commenter chibi has trademarked as the “Taco Unit,” the group that includes everyone and blows leads in the fourth quarter.

Against the Hornets Tuesday, the Lakers started to pull away with the bench guys in during the second, a group that is mixed with some starters. The Taco Unit blew a lot of that lead — and almost the tacos — in the fourth quarter. We just need to look at these situations separately.

Aside that, this stat from the Elias Sports Bureau sums it up: Only one other team in NBA history has scored at least 100 points and held their opponents under 100 points for seven straight games. Now, to burst your bubble a little, that team was the 200-01 Milwaukee Bucks.

The Heat Coming in: This is cool: Check out the Blue Note themed Heat roster video.

This has been an inconsistent Heat team — they beat Orlando and Denver earlier in the season (not last night, they got thumped), but then almost gave New Jersey a win. Maybe that’s to be expected with young players like Chalmers and Beasley in key roles, but still they have Wade and Jermaine O’Neal (who, stunningly, has both looked good at times and already missed time due to injury).

That means as much as ever, the Heat are asking Wade to step up and take on more. Especially in the fourth quarter — like Kobe last year the Heat look to get everyone involved early but late it is all Wade all the time. But Wake is not as efficient a shooter this season as he has been in years past — he is shooting 45% (eFG%) and while he is still getting to the line (10 FTA a game) his True Shooting Percentage is 52%, two points below the league average.

Part of the reason for the Heat’s inconsistency is they shoot a lot of long-two jumpers. They take six fewer shots per game at the rim than the average NBA team but make up for that by shooting more jumpers, three more per game from 16 feet to the three point line, than the average team. Of course, the long two is the least efficient shot in basketball.

One of the Heat’s biggest weaknesses is their bench — they get fewer points per game from the bench than any team in the NBA (according to ESPN Statistics). That was evident again last night, when after a tight first quarter the deep Nuggets just pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back.

What the Heat try to do on defense should remind people of the Showtime Lakers teams — defend the paint and get back in transition. Basically, take away the easy baskets and tempt the other team to be jump shooters. However, they don’t defend in the paint all that well, especially if you have bigs who can pass and motion in the offense. (Which the Lakers have.)

Blogs and links: The True Hoop Network has Hot Hot Hoops covering the Heat.

Fitting with out theme earlier today, here’s another little trip down memory lane.

Keys to game: What the Heat do on offense is not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it that easy to stop: It’s a lot of pick-and-rolls and isolations for Wade. On the picks the Lakers bigs need to show out consistently and not let Wade turn the corner with a head of steam. Rotations from the bigs to keep the paint full of long arms also will be key. When Wade sits (and also when he is in, just not as often) it’s a lot of isolations for Beasley, particularly out on the wing. Good game for the strong side zone when that happens.

While those two drive, the rest of the Heat spread the floor as spot up shooters. The Lakers need to be careful about who they leave open.

Richardson, a solid defender, will get the Kobe assignment. Richardson did well on the slumping Brandon Roy the other night. The Heat love to trap the other team’s primary ball handler (especially off picks) so Kobe needs to be aware and make the smart pass.

Finally, as always, the Heat may be athletic but they do not match up with the Lakers inside. Pound the ball in on offense and the Lakers should get some easy buckets.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start at Staples Center, you can choose between Fox Sports or ESPN, and on 710 ESPN radio.

230 responses to Preview & Chat: The Miami Heat

  1. Yes, I do mean +6. I don’t know what’s more amazing, the Kobe 3 bank or that Sasha got a +6.

    I still can’t believe we pulled out that win. Thanks to Kobe and Fish’s play in the 4th quarter. Those 2 amazing daggers by 2 big play killers.


  2. Kobe doin work…2 4 on my shirt forever.


  3. 1) That game was over. I was so angry at the abortive “play” Kobe and Pau couldn’t figure out in the last half minute. It was over. The rest was formalities if we were going to force a couple threes…

    2) On the other hand, once I saw Fisher get the ball in that spot, with his man giving him space, I knew that was going in.

    3) As soon as the ball left kobe’s hand it felt like a bank shot. It was straight on so that even as it went long, it felt good. I don’t know if he called it but that’s the benefit of shooting from that spot!

    WOW. Great way to start the weekend.


  4. Look at Drew, rocking the pink shirt!


  5. That wasn’t even a shot- it was a runner in traffic


  6. #191

    I share your feelings about LeBron. The icing on the cake was his post-game interview with that stuttering sycophant Bucher where he called Joakim Noah out for being ‘disrespectful’.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy to see a great player fail as I was last year when LeBron was ‘cheated’ out of what he assumed was his birthright – a Finals showdown with Kobe. That stupid pre-game photo ritual is what you come to expect from a HS team that blows every team out of the gym, not a team of professionals whose primary goal is a championship.

    But I digress… back to the hailing of the genius that is KB24


  7. i have to say that i think kobe banked it deliberatly, he had force hit so much it was a line drive


  8. Say what we do about how the refs favor D-Wade, but the guy is not a sore loser. He just said that Kobe is the one guy in the NBA who can bank in game-winning threes off one leg, going to his left 😀 He mentioned that if it had been anyone else making that shot, his team would be feeling a lot worse in the locker room.


  9. Kobe should have done the “This is my house” gesture 😀

    I remember seeing a replay of Wade doing it over and over again after his shot over the (now with 1 more win!) Nets.

    On a related note, my neighbor came rushing to our house when they heard me shout after Kobe’s shot banked in. They thought I got shot or got into an accident or something haha


  10. simonoid 196- if you are referring to the game where kobe makes the same 2 30ft fade aways against portland in the last game of the regular season; 1 to force overtime buzzerbeater and the other 1 to win the game buzzerbeater, I woul say hands down that was kobe’s greatest triumphent moment of his career!
    As for this game, I love that we were going to the post in the last 2 minutes of regulation and then once PJ signaled “time management” they went to their cluch players. It reminded me a lot of the dynasty lakers. The only think I don’t understand is Sasha playing. I wished Shannon could have recieved those clutch minutes so he can get used to it with his development as a key player. If anyone feels like explaing please be my guest but I would have been happier with Jordan than Sasha!
    BTW- Great win, great Friday, great night to be a Laker fan!


  11. On twitter, like half the league was apparently watching this game and reacted to Kobe’s shot


  12. That guy has hit more amazing shots than I’ve ever seen. And I’m 47… I’d love to see a commercial with Kobe making these types of shots and McEnroe yelling “You can’t be serious!!”. Kobe …there is no substitute.


  13. Jeremy (210) – of course, what else could I have been talking about? =)


  14. BTW .. Laker hater txt’s me after Kobe’s airball, “Nice Airball”… I text’d back after last shot, “He called glass”… I love Karma.


  15. Kobe hit more amazing shots in this one game than most guys do their whole career.



  16. texas rob- Without sounding so typical, the only highlight reels that interest me equally if not more than kobe’s would be “THE #23”. Kobe is my idol but I think he is either highly disputed by MJ’s highlights or trumped by them. We all have our opinions though.


  17. Jeremy — I hear you, And I can’t deny… I’ve watched Kobe more than #23, but clearly I’ve enjoyed Kobe’s more.


  18. Derek Fisher is a professional. Kobe is a legend. Wow.


  19. hahahaha- Zephid hasnt been back- he really did go to bed early didn’t he. He’s got a morning surprise in store for him!

    I just feel bad that Kurt didn’t get that exciting game he was pining for the other day. Maybe against the suns?


  20. just noticed that we are 3-0 for close games. (2 o.t wins and this miami heartbreaker) not bad to start the season.


  21. JD, check #169…he saw it. but that would have been sweet.
    did you see in Kobe’s FSN post game interview he mentioned about some of the front row people leaving early, can you imagine??? having front row for this game, and leaving early to beat the traffic???


  22. Best way to summarize how the Cavs act and how the Lakers act?

    Cavs: Act like you are entitled to it.

    Lakers: Act like you’ve earned it.


  23. 221- ah youre right! Glad he was bluffing. I basically thought it was over also but once I had accepted that there was no downside to seeing the thing out… Classic.

    Is kobe’s interview online somewhere?


  24. 222 – ladlal:

    Funny, people were saying the same things about us and Boston last season.

    Celtics: Act like you’ve earned it.

    Lakers: Act like you’re entitled to it.


  25. Lakers + Miracles = Kobe Bryant


  26. WhiteLightnin’ December 5, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Dude, like the “Dwyane [sic],” it really ties the room together and it’s very appropriate and slightly unsettling. Further, Wade showed how much classier he can be than LeBron tonight.

    The Lakers know how to win.


  27. This post’s photo selection has been superb.

    D-Wade, Kobe and Fisher.

    Sums up the game’s final 6 seconds or so 🙂


  28. Just to add a touch of intrigue to the O’neal/Odom thing…

    1) O’neal was the guy during the “Malice at the Palace” that was in the original altercations with Artest during the game. His shove was the one Artest walked away from to go lay down on the scorer’s table. Remember that O’neal was suspended 25 games, later reduced to 15 by a Federal Judge.

    2) Odom and Artest are long time, childhood friends.

    Makes you wonder what O’neal was saying/doing to get Odom so worked up in the first place…


  29. Apparently Wallace and O’neal are the same guy in my mind…

    Can we blame that on an early Saturday, pre-coffee? Thanks…