Miami Heat Game 3 Stats of Significance

13.3%

For as much as the Indiana Pacers, namely one player in particular, are making about the free throw disparity, it may only be a copout of owning up to their mistakes and flaws that continue to get exposed.

The Heat’s offseason rating of 115.3 per 100 possessions against the Pacers, and their top-ranked defense, this series far exceeds the rating they posted up in the regular season.

So, what does the 13.3% have to do with anything? It’s the percentage of points the Pacers scored their points from the mid-range. That includes David West and Luis Scola both having over 30% of their shots come from the mid-range, and Paul George having 8.7% of his points from the same area.

The Heat, meanwhile, only had 9.8% of their points from the mid-range, instead electing to take more of their two-pointers near the basket. Over 29% of their points came from the foul line, where Dwyane Wade scored nearly half his 15 points.

Also, Indiana only had 5% of their points come on fastbreaks, compared to 10% for the Heat.

The Pacers have been talking this season from start to finish, and these accusations of “home-cooking” are not a good look after three consecutive losses. If they blame everyone but themselves, and attempt to play mind games that backfire horribly, they’ll never be able to figure out how to keep LeBron James from shooting above 60%, which he’s done in three of the four games.

52.2%

The trend of subpar shooting teams hitting their contested shots against the Heat has trudged well into its seventh month.

The Pacers drained 52.2% of their contested shots last night, with Paul George and David West combining to shoot nearly 60% on 22 contested shots. Luis Scola was 4-for-4, George Hill was 3-for-6, and Lance Stephenson was 2-for-5 on a night where they shot 44% on uncontested shots.

Miami managed to best Indiana, though, shooting 55% on contested shots, but failed to hit 40% of their uncontested shots, with Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis combining to miss all 12 of their open looks.

Indiana shot 55% on contested shots in Game 3 and 49% in Game 1. They only struggled in Game 2 when they shot 39%. Remember, this was a team that failed to score a point per minute in a game against the Atlanta Hawks this season.

They’re also shooting 40% from beyond the arc for the series after being a middle-of-the-pack three-point shooting team all season. They shot 41% in their previous season with Washington.

They also have an offensive rating of 105.3 points per 100 possessions this series, which is a substantial improvement from the 101.5 points per 100 possessions they were garnering in the regular season.

These numbers don’t mean much more now, either than it makes the possibility of a three game winning streak by Indiana all the more improbable, once you consider they’ve shot extremely well on tough shots in three out of four games.

20

You don’t need to see Indiana’s scouting report on Miami to know they have to keep Miami in the half-court as much as possible.

It’s not an indictment on the Heat’s half-court offense, which is arguably the best in basketball, but it’s just more practical to keep them there than to allow them in the open court.

In Game 4, this, not free throws or Frank Vogel’s coaching, was why Indiana lost.

The Pacers gave the Heat 20 points on their 14 turnovers, with Rashard Lewis, who continues to destroy Indiana passing lanes somehow, LeBron, and Dwyane Wade each recording two steals. Indiana, meanwhile, had one steal the entire game.

Miami outscored Indiana 10-4 on the fastbreak.

LeBron James contributed to 11 of those 20 points the Heat got off turnovers, as well as eight of the Heat’s 10 fastbreak points. He has led the forefront of suffocating pressure on ball-handlers in the pick-and-roll, but has had plenty of help from the likes of Rashard, who continued to tip passes intended for Pacer players.

His defense has stepped up to a level we haven’t seen since last year’s postseason run, and it’s been a breath of fresh air from having to hear critics of LeBron’s defense this year.

They’re still allowing David West to beat up on them in the paint and in the mid-range, but the Heat are forcing the Pacers to take the shots they usually miss.

Roy Hibbert returned to his usual non-scoring self in Game 4, while Lance failed to score a field goal until the midway point of the fourth, thanks in part to foul trouble throughout the first half.

 

 

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Miami Heat: Game 2 Stats of Significance

22-20

Bearing a striking resemblance to the third quarter from Game 4 of the 2012 semifinals, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to stifle any hope of Indiana taking full control of the series.

Had the dynamic duo not come through then, the Heat would have faced a 3-1 deficit. This time around, it would have been a 2-0 deficit, with 94% of teams previously going on to win series’ when they win the first two games.

Wade and James wouldn’t let that happen. In a critical fourth quarter, which featured Miami outscoring Indiana 25-20, Wade scored ten points on a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, while LeBron dropped 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Norris Cole’s three, off a LeBron assist, with 10:45 left were the only Heat points in the quarter not scored by either Dwyane or LeBron.

Those two alone combined to outscore Indiana in the final frame. And with 7:18 left and the Pacers holding a four-point lead, it became the LeBron James show.

James, who had struggled to score ten points going into the final frame, would score nine consecutive Heat points, and then assist on a Wade dunk to give his team an 80-75 lead with 3:17 left.

For all the early criticism he was bludgeoned with for most of the contest, LeBron still ended with a well-rounded 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals on 50% shooting. He struggled from beyond the arc, but hit his only three of the night to cut Indiana’s four-point lead to one.

For as much attention as Lance Stephenson received for his five minute stretch of uncharacteristic brilliance, Wade was better, finishing with 23 points on 63% shooting, and also saving his best for last.

Stephenson, who had 23 points going into the fourth, scored two points in the final 12 minutes. You can thank Norris Cole, as well as the law of averages, for that.

58% 

Things certainly look your way when the uncontested shots you’re taking are actually falling.

While this wasn’t the case in Game 5 against Brooklyn or Game 1 against Indiana, it was in Game 2, with the Heat converting 58% of their 31 uncontested attempts.

Norris Cole, who finished with 11 points and his both of his three-point attempts, was a perfect 3-for-3 on uncontested shots. Mario Chalmers also hit both of open threes, while Dwyane Wade supported the squad with 4-for-6 shooting on uncontested shots.

Miami’s 40% shooting from three marked the first time they’ve shot better than 34% from three since Game 2 against Brooklyn. Bosh and James combined to shoot 2-for-9, but it was the supporting cast who led the way, with Chalmers and Cole combining to shoot 4-for-4.

Even Shane Battier entered the fray, knocking down one of his two threes.

The Pacers, meanwhile, who shot 60% on uncontested shots in Game 1, were only 41% this time around. David West and Paul George were a combined 4-for-12, while Luis Scola went 0-for-3.

Lance Stephenson and George Hill were the only players to thrive on their open makes for Indiana, going 8-for-14.

Indiana was no better on contested looks, shooting 38%, while Miami shot 44%. However, they still managed to shoot near 50% on 19 three-point attempts, converting on better than 40% of their threes for a second consecutive game.

The Pacers were a middle-of-the-pack shooting team in the regular season. One has to wonder how much they continue to rely on George Hill going 3-for-5, Stephenson going 2-for-4, and Rasual Butler going 2-for-3.

+25

The Heat were a travesty on the defensive boards last night. Although they somehow won the rebounding battle, they were annihilated going after defensive rebounds, and gave up 16 offensive rebounds, including eight alone to Roy Hibbert.

Roy had more offensive rebounds than the entire Heat team. He also had 12 points to go along with his 13 rebounds, furthering the now well-known anomaly of Roy Hibbert going completely insane when he plays the Miami Heat.

Naturally, it was his first double-double of the playoffs, and first since March 21st. The eight offensive rebounds was also a season-high.

But his numbers hardly measured up to that of Chris Andersen’s, who once again proved he deserved more recognition for Sixth Man of the Year. In 29 minutes, Birdman brought down a team-high 12 rebounds, the third-most he had this year.

Although he only scored three points on 1-for-4 shooting, he was a game-high plus-25 and was instrumental, alongside fellow bench member Norris Cole, in Miami’s fourth quarter run.

His 28% rebounding percentage was a game-high, as was his net-rating of 49.3 and defensive rating of 77.4.

In a season where apathy and malaise was a repetitive theme, Birdman has been the lone consistent source of energy, even at the age of 36, the second-oldest on the team behind Ray Allen.

It’s for that exact reason why he shouldn’t start, either. Miami needs that energy off the bench, and also doesn’t need him picking up cheap, early fouls against Roy Hibbert, either.

 

 

The Benevolent King: Heat Need all 49 of LeBron’s to Take Control of Series

Paul Pierce asked for this. All of this.

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Heat Pull Away Late, Beat Brooklyn Nets to Take 2-0 Series Lead

If you thought Game 2 would be as easy as Game 1 was, you haven’t watched much Miami-based basketball.

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Game 1 Playoff Recap: Miami Heat Stats of Significance

52-28

That was the Heat’s points in the paint edge in their all-too-easy 21-point victory over a Brooklyn Nets team that had beaten them on all four occasions in the regular season.

Miami made a living in the paint, with nearly half of their 107 total points coming from that area. With the Nets failing to find any clear answer to guarding LeBron James, the eventual three-time Finals MVP feasted in the post, abusing the lanky Shaun Livingston, the smaller Joe Johnson, and the older Paul Pierce.

The Heat had 22 assists on their 42 makes, and shot an impressive 57% overall from the field. With the Nets attempting to match the Heat with a small lineup of their own, all the Heat had to do was feast on their individual matchups, and have constant player and ball movement until an open shot was found.

Although they were only rewarded with 16 free throws, including only a combined two between LeBron and Dwyane Wade, it had more to do with the Nets’ matador defense, and their lack of a physical interior defender.

Yeah, Kevin Garnett’s there, but he’s 37-years-old and barely playing over 20 minutes anymore. With the only other interior presences featuring the likes of Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic (seriously), Miami had open season going over or around the Nets’ painfully small front line.

Ray Allen: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

The Heat couldn’t afford a repeat of Ray Allen’s sub-30% shooting against Charlotte in the previous round. So, to say the least, what the Heat got out of Ray Allen in Game 1 is more than they could have ever asked for.

In 26 minutes, Ray, going against his former teammates in Pierce and Garnett, dropped 19 points, outscoring the former Celtics duo by 11, and hit on four of his seven three-point attempts. It’s the first time since April 6th that Ray hit four threes in a game, and only the seventh time all year he’s converted four three-pointers in a game.

Three of those makes came in the second half, where the Heat outscored Brooklyn 61-43.

It’s strange to say, but Ray looked as confident in his shot as I’ve seen this season. He took shots without hesitation and at any point he had a moment of breathing room. The prospect of going up against Pierce and Garnett in a playoff series for the first time may have spurred something.

Allen was actually the second-highest scorer in the game, trailing only LeBron and his 22 points. The 19 points he finished with was the most he’s scored since dropping 25 in a March 16th win over Houston.

The Nets shot 42% from three…

and still received one of the worst losses since the All-Star break. Excluding a season-finale blowout loss to Cleveland, where most of the starters sat, the Nets previous worst loss came in a 110-81 defeat to the New York Knicks back on April 2nd.

Heat fans knew they’d be due for some frustrating shot-making by these Nets, and, sure enough, they got it.

Deron Williams hit not one, but two buzzer-beating threes, including one that was shot over Chris Andersen and banked in from about 30 feet, while Joe Johnson hit three of his own. Paul Pierce hit two, although both came in the first quarter.

Brooklyn shot 46% on 44 contested shots, with Johnson going 5-for-8, Williams going 3-for-4, Teletovic going 2-for-3, and Marcus Thornton going 3-for-6. Paul Pierce was the only perimeter player who struggled on contested shots, shooting 1-for-4.

As a team, the Nets shot 30% against the Raptors from three, and were a slightly above-average three-point shooting team in the regular season.

If the Heat continue to play defense the way they were last night, limiting Brooklyn to a paltry 11 assists on 33 makes, they’ll soon see it pay off, with the Nets’ contested field goal percentage sure to drop.

2014 NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat Stats of Significance Through Game 3

The Heat are really, really, really good when James Jones is on the floor

We asked, incessantly, and got our wish for more James Jones minutes. And while it’s doubtful coach Erik Spoelstra reads the suggestions offered to him on social media, it’s obvious that, in the right situation, the Heat are a better team, especially on offense, when Jones is on the floor.

Jones, who possessed a plus-19.5 net rating in the regular season, is currently posting an absurd net rating of plus-41.8 in 42 playoff minutes through the first three games of the playoffs. The Heat are generating 139.5 points per 100 possessions when James in on the floor, and giving up 97.7 points per 100 possessions on defense.

No other player is garnering more than 125.1 points per 100 possessions, owned by Chris Andersen, and it shows. The Heat are far more efficient on the offensive end when Jones is on the floor, stretching the floor and spacing Charlotte’s top ten defense, and obtaining quality shots for their sharpshooter.

Although Jones was 1-for-6 overall in Miami’s Game 3 win, three of those looks were categorized as uncontested, and he finished the night a plus-18. Only LeBron James, who went off for 30 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, had a better plus/minus rating.

You can only wonder how much longer the Heat can continue getting away with playing him, though. He’s a good fit against Charlotte because the Bobcats don’t have the shooting guard or small forward that’s capable of dropping 25-plus on any given night, rendering Jones a liability on the defensive end.

If Brooklyn makes their way out of the first round, one has to wonder how much time Jones would see playing against the likes of Paul Pierce or Joe Johnson.

For now, we’ll revel in Jones shooting lights-out, and allowing us to momentarily forget about Mike Miller.

The starting lineup has been less than impressive

While lineups featuring Jones have been extremely productive, the starting lineup has been an absolute bust. Featuring Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, the starting lineup has a net rating of minus-28.4, and is garnering only 77.5 points per 100 possessions.

They’re no better on defense, giving up 105.9 points per possessions, and it’s been resulting in a slew of slow starts against a Charlotte offense that ranked 23rd in offensive efficiency in the regular season.

In 33 minutes together, their true shooting percentage is a paltry 40.5 percent, and they’re shooting 36 percent from the field. The second-most used lineup, meanwhile, featuring Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Wade, Bosh and Andersen, is shooting 50 percent and has a net rating of plus-26.4.

The three players with the lowest plus/minus rating on the team are a part of the starting lineup, including Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem. Wade and Bosh, however, thrive in the other, more productive lineups, while Haslem, who is seldom-used after his first and third quarter stints, has the lowest plus/minus rating of any rotation player.

The starting lineup’s problems are palpable. There’s little spacing, because of Al Jefferson’s lack of respect for Haslem’s capability of being a consistent shooter, and the lane doesn’t open up nearly as much as it does when guys like Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, or James Jones are on the floor.

Udonis is a good fit for the right series. If you need a physical matchup that can help beat up on guys like Carlos Boozer or David West, Haslem is your guy. Putting a shooter in there, however, forces Charlotte to make significant adjustments in their defensive gameplan.

In previous games, they’ve been hiding Jefferson’s lack of mobility by placing him on Haslem, and McRoberts on Bosh. Put a shooter in there, however, and Jefferson would have no choice but to either be matched up with either Rashard Lewis or Jones or even Shane Battier, or go one-on-one with Bosh.

Either way, this is all rendered moot by Jefferson likely not being available for Game 4, and the fact that Miami’s up 3-0 and should have the series wrapped up by the end of the night.

Chris Bosh is shooting lights out from beyond the arc

Hopefully the law of averages doesn’t hit Chris Bosh in future series’.

These aren’t forced shots from Bosh, either, as they’re all coming in the rhythm of the offense. The only worrisome part of the lucid shooting display is how comfortable Bosh can get shooting from far out. That shot’s not always going to be there, and the Heat will need the prince of the mid-range and post-player at some point over the next month.

Then again, the playoffs have belonged to Bosh, especially in big-time moments. In the 2011-12 postseason run, Bosh shot 54 percent on 13 attempts, including a big 3-for-3 performance in Miami’s Game 7 win over Boston in the Conference Finals.

Last year, he shot 41 percent on 37 attempts, which was on par with Ray Allen and Mike Miller’s shooting prowess in the same postseason run. Fully transitioning in attempting to move his mid-range game further out beyond the three-point stripe, Bosh shot a respectable 34 percent on a career-high 218 attempts.

He had taken no more than 74 three-pointers in a season prior to this year.

 

Miami Heat Continue to Ruin New York’s Season, Win by Double-Digits

It was as typical a game between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks as you would imagine.

The Heat need a few minutes to wake up. The Knicks come out firing, and continue to do so for the rest of the game. The Heat play with effort for five minutes and almost look they’re going to run away from it. The Heat relent. The game is close for the next 20 minutes.

In the end, it’s usually a Knicks’ player making an unsubstantial amount of threes, but not enough because of too much LeBron James.

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