Blog Entry

The Haslem Effect

Posted on: May 19, 2011 6:38 pm
 
Udonis Haslem was the difference maker in Game 2 for the Heat, and it wasn't just in the ways you noticed or would expect. 

Posted by Matt Moore

When coach Eric Spoelstra elected not to change his roster actives for Game 2, we were... less than impressed. How were the Heat going to manage to mitigate the huge rebounding advantage with the same roster? What of course we weren't counting on was Udonis Haslem rising from Spoelstra's training table like Frankenstein and destroying the Bulls like Taj Gibson did in Game 1. It wasn't just the kinds of plays you'd expect from Haslem in terms of rebounds and defense, though. Haslem made smart veteran plays... you know, the kinds of plays the Heat were counting on from Haslem all year prior to his injury. 

Check it out.


 

Here in the first half, James takes a pull-up jumper from the top of the arc. In a great example of how the bounces literally went Miami's way, the rebound doesn't carom straight backwards, where Noah is (left center), but instead bounces to the left.

 

Haslem manages to make the grab while Noah's still blocking out the weak side. Carlos Boozer's doing approximately what you'd expect him to be doing. Nothing. 



Haslem lands, and whereas Joel Anthony and his stone hands have a high probability of losing the handle on an attempted pass or gather, or even Dampier or Ilgauskas who would immediately attempt to tap the ball in over Noah's length, Haslem manages to move the ball down and sideways. Yes, you're never supposed to bring the ball back down in such a situation, but with the Bulls' length and ability to challenge, it's not a bad idea. Especially when you consider that there are four Bulls within a foot of Haslem and their backs are all facing the perimeter. Boy, I hope there's not a hyper-athletic superstar with incredible explosion hanging out after he just took a jumper. 



Because, you see, with Boozer just now starting to close on Haslem, and the Ball whizzing literally right by his head, that would mean that such a 6-8, 285 lb. freight train would have a clear shot at the lane to capitalize on Haslem's savvy play. 




Oh, yeah, LeBron James



Whoops. 

But it wasn't just there that Haslem did work. Controlling the glass was a problem for the Heat, but while the Bulls still ratcheted up 17 offensive boards, the majority came in the first half, and the percentage was much lower in Game 2. In particular, Taj Gibson wasn't a demon on both ends for the Bulls. 

Taj Gibson was a monster in that game, making all the key plays and adding 3 offensive rebounds among his seven total. In Game 2, Gibson had 1 offensive rebound, making his rebound total... 1. Haslem was partly why.  Here's an example. 

 

C.J. Watson takes a three here in the second. It's deep enough that there's a pretty solid chance the rebound's going to go wide to the left side of the basket, where Taj Gibson's waiting to collect. Haslem comes in helping off of Asik and identifies the angle. He's gonig to have to get between Gibson and the rim without already having position.

 

Haslem makes contact to put a body on him, and let's face it, this looks like a hug. The initial bump to Gibson's right side moves him just to the side enough to allow Haslem to slide in between him and the rim as the rebound comes off.



Haslem slides off of Gibson's right side to where he's parallel to Gibson, both players facing the baseline. 



Haslem turns, slipping under and up Gibson's right side, avoiding a foul call, and snares the rebound, immediately securing it low as opposed to keeping it high as the other Heat centers would be more likely to do. 

Haslem was the biggest difference maker in Game 2. Spoelstra relied on him heavily, playing him nearly to the bone. His conditioning will be tested in Game 3, but with three days rest, that may be enough time for him to recover. While the Heat may not have a player with enough size to keep the Bulls off the glass, they have a player they can count on to outsmart the Bulls' raw athleticism off the bench, giving more opportunities for the Big 3 to be the deciders in the game. 
 
Comments
MattJS06
Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2011 9:45 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 6:19 pm
 

The Haslem Effect

The Big 3 Bron Flash and UD



Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 3:21 pm
 

The Haslem Effect

I had to get on here and say a few words, and they aren't directed at anyone that has posted before me.  I am tired of everyone I talk to being so suprised by Haslem, and they aren't suprised about him getting back healthy.  These "guys" I'm bashing are the ones that thought he stunk, that he wasn't any good when he WAS healthy.  I quickly reminded them that Udonis Haslem was the FIRST guy the Heat signed after getting the "big three" under contract.  Udonis was on the championship team  back in 2006 and played a vital STARTING ROLE.  He is as good a guy as I've seen in the NBA, and for a little depth I add this link from back when he signed.  The guy is a hustler, has the cojones to do the dirty work, (let's be honest, Lerbron, Dwayne and Bosh aren't going to) and be the "enforcer" we need..GO HEAT!!!




Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 12:06 pm
 

The Haslem Effect

Any help off the bench is welcome, especially if it can rebound.  One of the biggest things that I took from game 2 was a personal realization that "you know, Haslem used to be a pretty decent player at times."

I had basically dismissed him bcause he was out so long and because I figured he would be very rusty and possibly still hampered by the injury.  es, it was just one game, and there was still some rust (he didn't look very smooth at times and lacked stamina for the end of the game), but the energy he brought and the production he brought was substantial in a position where they truly need him. 

It's possible that this was just one good game, but it is also possible that he will continue to improve as he gets back into the flow of the game.  I will be watching him closely the next two games. If he keeps improving, it will make the Heat all but unbeatable.




Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2011 7:47 pm
 

The Haslem Effect

Udonis Haslem is Back!! Before the injury he was the Heat's sixth man and first one off the bench. His solid play and tenacious style is just what the Heat needed to match up with Chicago's excellent defense. He greatly helps combat Miami's biggest flaws their rebounding and getting production for the bench. What great timing to get UD back should be just the boost they need to get to the finals! Go HEAT!


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