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NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out

Posted on: April 16, 2011 7:31 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2011 8:52 pm

Posted by Matt Moore

And again, the underdog nearly pulls it off, but comes up short . The Sixers started hot against the Heat. Then, the Heat slowly chipped away, chipped away, and took over. It looked like an easy win for the Heat when they were up 11 with 5:57 to play. By the 2:26 mark, it was a one-point game. The Sixers made a late run, keyed by Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday, working inside and out, but couldn't close. Then, Wade did this fun thing .

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If we're trying to find a real theme in this game, it comes from this. The Heat turned this game into a slugfest. Slowed it down to a snail's pace and ground it out. The Sixers shot 42 percent from the field, but had an effective field goal percentage (factoring 3-point attempts) of 45.8 percent. That's bad, but still better than the Heat. And that was a big part of how they hung around. The reality is that, for a team that relies so much on transition, buckets and speed, the Heat turned into a slow-it-down, brutalize-it club. And that was their biggest success against Philadelphia. When the Sixers got in transition and sped the game up, they had considerably more success. Factor in Chris Bosh's 25 points and 12 rebounds and that's the model for a Heat win. 

Defensively for the Sixers, there has to be more help and it has to come before the point of attack. The Sixers gave up 39 free throws (as opposed to the fifteen they managed). Philadelphia gave up fouls on nearly 19% of all possessions for Miami. Some of that's star calls, sure. But that doesn't change it from being something Philly has to respond to. There needs to be more communication defensively to help out on possessions, especially when James is leading. 

The Heat were not efficient in this game, outside of creating free throws (which is, in itself, efficient, but bear with me). Their three leading scorers (the Triad) shot 41 percent from the field. On the one hand, you have to say the Sixers won't be lucky enough to run into that bad of a shooting performance across the board. On the other, the Heat have to convert more opportunities. This was a solid win that the Heat had control of for 3.25 quarters. But it was also a game in which they left the door open. 

That said, if the Heat's defense maintains its intensity for the entire game, Philadelphia's options become more and more limited. 


  • Somewhere in the back of their minds, the Heat coaching staff has to be concerned about the work of Jrue Holiday (19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists).  Point guard is a soft spot for the Heat defensively, and Holiday has a higher ceiling than he showed Saturday. 
  • On the flip side, Philadelphia has to be terrified about Spencer Hawes. The Heat do not have strong center play and Hawes was totally overwhelmed in a limited 13 minutes. He shot selectively and efficiently but was unable to work well on the glass. 
  • Andres Nocioni should not play. He's too much of a liability in this series. 
  • Jodie Meeks did a great job in the first half against Dwyane Wade. Later, when switched against LeBron James, he was overmatched. Which isn't surprisingly. It's confusing that Collins would go that route. 
  • Late in the game, LeBron James largely played a "spy linebacker" position; waiting low to block whoever came to the paint. It was frightening to see him in that kind of lurking role. 

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:13 am

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out

And they did get the ball in Wade's hands at the end of this game. Just continue that.

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:11 am

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out

Just give the ball to Wade at the end of games. That's it. They may be the "Big Three" for the first 45 minutes, but Wade is the "Big One" after that. He's thrived in that situation over the years, and it will allow easy baskets for his teammates.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: April 16, 2011 9:36 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out

I'm a Heat fan and I TOTALLY expected that we would come out flat in this first game. So much that I had money on the Sixers, STRAIGHT UP.

I thought Philly would take it right to us, sort of nothing to lose mentality, and that or D would struggle to get up to speed in time. I expected a loss in game 1, and that may have been what we needed to wake up and start playing with a sense of URGENCY!

All season long we have had stretches of hard nosed D which would lead to a win streak, followed by a head-scratching, low-effort game (or 5) that would wake us up and lead to another streak of some sort.

We finished the season relatively strong, so I figured we would start the post season in a lull, and that's pretty much what happend. Hopefully it was enough of a wakeup call to snap us out of the sleep walking man-to-man that we play at times. If we have to depend on going to the zone every game, we aren't going to make it to the Finals.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: April 16, 2011 8:31 pm

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out

Even though the Heat won this game over the Sixers, it was really encouraging for the Sixers, and should be quite alarming for the Heat.  It looked like the Sixers might actually pull out a win late in the game (at 88 to 87).  That's really good news for them regarding how they might be able to compete with the Heat in future games.  I really thought the Heat would make a much better showing in this game.  I would be pretty nevous in the Heat locker room.  With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh for the Heat, the Sixers should not be able to stay in the game with them.  This looks like it could really be a competitive series after all.  It's going to be really interesting to see how both teams respond to this game.  This just might be a fun series.

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