NBA PM: Heat Face Challenges Without Bosh
LeBron James has literally played every position on the floor this season for the Miami Heat.
If you weren’t aware of that before Chris Bosh suffered a lower abdominal injury in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers, something that will keep him out indefinitely, you’ll be hearing about it a lot over the coming days.
The truth is the Heat aren’t the biggest team in the NBA, but they’ve been able to make up for that thanks to the presence of James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh. Rotating 6-8ish Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem at center has left Miami a bit undersized in the frontcourt and now that James is going to have to slide over to power forward, that situation isn’t going to get any better.
Making things worse for Miami is the fact that they’re facing a pretty big team in the Indiana Pacers. Roy Hibbert is 7-2, Paul George is 6-10 and Tyler Hansbrough is 6-9. David West is a bit undersized at 6-8, but he’s notorious for playing bigger than his list height (at least on the offensive end).
The question is, how can the Heat compensate for the loss of Bosh and win a series with a significant height disadvantage.
First of all, the numbers for James at power forward are good, but somewhat irrelevant in this situation.
Yes, James has a Player Efficiency Rating of 37.1 at power forward, according to 82games.com. Unfortunately for Miami, that ridiculous stat (the league average is 15) has very little to do with the situation at hand. Some of that figure has to do with garbage-time minutes while some of it can be explained by the up-tempo style of play Miami used when Bosh was off the floor.
Garbage time and track meet are two things the Heat can’t count on in this late stage of the season.
The problem at hand has more to do with Miami’s half-court offense.
Previously the Miami used Bosh to open up the Pacers defense as Hibbert would be forced to step out to defend the Heat big man’s 15-foot jumper.
But with James at power forward, the Pacers can match up with any combination of West, George, Danny Granger or Tyler Hansbrough, leaving Hibbert to stay closer to the rim.
That puts extra pressure on the Heat defense to create transition opportunities, and that’s obviously something the team is comfortable with. Anyone who has seen Miami play this year knows they’re looking for as many fast-break opportunities as possible.
What’s trickier is the half-court offense, and if Indiana can take smart shots, preventing long rebounds and turnovers, they’ll force Miami to come up with an actual plan on offense as opposed to simply alternating between James and Wade.
Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier have to be hitting perimeter shots, but it’s more important for the Heat to continue the ball movement that they displayed before Bosh left Sunday’s Game 1.
The baseline screens and sharp passes allowed James to connect on five field goals between 11 and 20 feet and that’s a trend that will have to continue in Game 2.
Miami still has the overall defensive advantage because Indiana is not an overwhelming offensive team (they ranked ninth in offensive efficiency, but that was trending upward at the end of the season). The challenge now is to become a good half-court team without Bosh pulling the opponents’ biggest defender out of the paint, and that’s going to become increasingly difficult as the Pacers see more of the Heat’s offense.
Live from Brooklyn
Madison Square Garden will always have an assortment of big-name stars. On any given night you can see Ben Stiller, Howard Stern or Tracy Morgan sitting in the front row at a Knicks game.
The Brooklyn Nets probably don’t have the same pull with celebrities, but that’s not written in stone.
From October 29th until November 2nd, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! will air from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), which is a short walk from Barclays Center (Notice, it’s not “The Baclays Center” It’s “Barclays Center” like “Lincoln Center”). Those dates coincide with the beginning of the NBA season and that means Kimmel, who was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Las Vegas, will be welcoming Nets players on the program as well as promoting Brooklyn’s brand new, state-of-the-art arena.
“It’ll be great to have Jimmy back in his native Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “It will be an exciting week for the show and for the Brooklyn Nets, as major professional sports returns to Brooklyn for the first time since 1957. Jimmy’s appearance is significant for the borough and will continue to make the Brooklyn Nets a national story.”
Speaking of the Nets
Brooklyn shooting guard Anthony Morrow sat down with Slam’s Adam Figman to discuss the move across the Hudson, Deron Williams’ situation and his recent decision to change his Twitter handle.
Morrow is always a good interview, so here’s a snippet of the conversation that pertains to Williams’ decision to stay with the Nets or to leave via free agency:
“Me and Deron, we don’t always talk about it too much. I know at the end of the day, Deron is a future Hall of Famer, and he’s gonna do what’s best for himself and his family. That said, I think he really likes Brooklyn. He loves the team, our teammates. Our team chemistry—I’ve probably never had this kind of team chemistry with a team before. We do so much stuff together. He’s gonna do what’s best for him and his family, and that’s the main thing. All of the guys respect that about him. You gotta do what makes you happy. [But] I want him back. I tell him all the time, I want him back [laughs].”
Bob Delaney to be honored by U.S. Army
As reported by Mike Garafolo of the Star-Ledger, retired NBA referee Bob Delaney will receive the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Award for his work with veterans who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The S-L’s Dave D’Alessandro wrote a more in-depth piece on Delaney in April of 2011 that’s worth a look:
“Yes, your first association with post-traumatic stress disorder relates to combat soldiers, as it should. Delaney has been to Iraq twice, met countless troops and their officers, visited every military hospital from Walter Reed to Landstuhl in Germany, and interviewed dozens of doctors specializing in PTSD. This book is a compendium of what he has learned, and what the rest of us need to know.”
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