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.

 

 

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: Are James Jones and Rashard Lewis Worthy of Rotation Minutes?

The absences of Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and Greg Oden over the Miami Heat’s past two games has given the fanbase all it ever wanted: Playing time for James Jones.

Bonus incentive: We get Rashard Lewis, too!

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Miami Heat’s Shooting Struggles Could be Blessing for Playoffs

After shooting less than 32 percent from three in a one-point loss to Indiana, the Miami Heat made it a fifth consecutive game of shooting 35 percent or worse.

Make it seven of their last nine games of sub-35 percent shooting from three, and there’s only so many games remaining in the regular season to find a rhythm.

Criticism has mostly been been focused more on the Miami Heat’s perimeter defense, but their offense, also along the three-point line, has struggled significantly compared to year’s past.

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Why this Year’s Miami Heat Team is the Best of the Big Three Era

Wrote this over at Dime Magazine. There’s been a great deal of criticism lately about the Miami Heat and the overall lack of effort they’ve exerted and shown this season.

But what if I told you that it’s on a far better pace than last year when they finished the season with a franchise record 66 wins? That it’s the deepest Miami Heat team yet and that its best players are averaging career-lows in minutes?

Most importantly, at 27-10, that it only has room to grow.

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On a night where LeBron James dealt with a rare off night, the Miami Heat showcased why they’re one of the deepest and most efficient teams in the league.

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