Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Heat May Win, The Wrong Way

The Miami Heat beat the Spurs 120-98 last night. If you just look at the score, without watching the game, you might think the Heat did their thing, winning big. Watching the game, it's clear the Heat didn't come out strong, took horrible shots and was lucky they went in come the third quarter. Let's differentiate between executing and hot shooting.

LeBron James was shooting great in the third. He is amazing, we all know it. Is how he played, the shots he took, something the Heat can sustain? Can LeBron consistently take shots he won't regularly make? Is reliance on these awful (but exciting) shots scary?

The Heat cannot sustain play like this. While three point shooting comes and goes, going to the basket can be a constant. Forcing the defense to foul can happen more. Free throws actually going down (Bosh and LeBron went 7-13 from the strike) will empower Miami. Throwing it to Bosh in the mid-post can open the floor up. Doubling of guys like Bosh and LeBron, if they go to the basket, will leave three point shooters open.

LeBron should be an occasional three point shooter at best! LeBron can't make these shots regularly. He relied on them due to finding his stroke, but there's still no reason to take those shots. When the defense starts playing up on Bron, after he makes a jumper or two, he can then use his speed and go to the basket. Last night against the Spurs, he decided to take some jumpers and then more jumpers.

Miami can ride these spouts of brilliance, but it won't take them to a title. A cohesive, responsive and and engaged unit is much more desirable. The Miami Heat have a tendency to come out flat. Their intensity level fluctuates as much as the stock market. That's NOT how you win titles. Whether it's the regular season, pre-season, or playoffs, consistent effort trumps talent.

Unless the Heat realize the implications of their inconsistent play, a title becomes that much harder to attain. Can the Heat play with consistent intensity that isn't reliant upon lucky jump shots? Yeah. If they do that, will they be five times better than they already are? Yep! Word to the Miami Heat: cool it with the lucky J's and play hard in the first AND third quarters.