Tag:Sixers-Heat
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 1:04 am
 

Heat-Sixers Series Recap: Heat a step above

Chris Bosh leads the way (?!) as the Heat close out the Sixers and advance to meet their destiny versus the nemesis, the Boston Celtics
Posted by Matt Moore




It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, it was closer than it should have been. But the Heat have closed out the Sixers, and advance to the second round. The clutch hero was naturally... Joel Anthony?! Moving on, here's how this series wrapped up. 

Series MVP: Chris Bosh. Who would have thought the most-criticized of the Triad would step up like this? 19.8 points per game for Bosh, and he finally showed the kind of aggression you would have hoped to have seen more of this season. Bosh found Elton Brand at the elbow, and Brand was too old to match him in speed, and not big enough to match his length. Bosh was consistently aggressive, and it paid off. The Sixers were supposed to have a better set at the 4-5 matchup, and instead, Bosh, alongside Joel Anthony, turned it. Like a Bosh.

It was over when: Game 2 when the Heat blew them out. The Sixers had shown life in Game 1, but Game 2 really showed that the talent differential was too great. The seeds of doubt were cast then. The Heat made the statement and it held through for a five-game win. 

Goat of the Series: Andre Iguodala. Iguodala had his best game of the series in Game 5, but also shot 32 percent in the other four games. And on the key possession for the Sixers late in the game, after nailing huge shot after huge shot, Iguodala missed a pull-up jumper. The Sixers needed Iggy to take it to another level in this series, which was obviously a tough matchup. That's the playoffs, though, and he couldn't get it done. Iguodala will be a superb 2nd to 3rd best player on possibly a championship team. But as "the guy" he's just not a good fit. 

Going forward, the Sixers should: Feel good about the progress they've made. Their first year under Doug Collins they made a miraculous turnaround, made the playoffs, won a game, and developed some good young talent. It may be time to cash in Iguodala as a building block and move towards Evan Turner. Especially after Turner's performance in the playoffs, dealing Iguodala makes sense, and would net them a huge array of talent. Jrue Holiday looks legit, as does Lou Williams, and Turner. With Brand getting back to decent performance, even at his age, a better starting center would set their future up nicely. They still need a star player, but sometimes the search for those takes time. 

Going forward, the Heat should: Be grateful they didn't blow this one. Pushing this to a Game 6 in Philadelphia would have sent up "Oh My God, the Heat are choking again!" panic attacks. They now get time to prepare for Game 1 against Boston on Sunday. And they're going to need it. The Heat had so much momentum going into Game 4 and lost some of it. Even Game 5 felt like more of an exhalation than a victory roar. The Heat took care of business. Now the real playoffs begin for them. 

Winners: Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Mario Chalmers, Doug Collins, Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young

Losers: LeBron James, Andre Iguodala, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Spencer Hawes, Mike Bibby

Posted on: April 27, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Boston is the best reason for Heat to close 76ers

Posted by Royce Young



It's never a good idea to mess around in the playoffs. Not only do you open the door to actually losing the series if you let it go on longer than it should, but you risk injury, give up rest and maybe most importantly, preparation.

The Heat have an opportunity to close out the 76ers tonight in Miami and while it's in their best interest to win for a lot of reasons, maybe the best reason is that they need an extra couple days. They need an extra couple practices to prepare. Because those Celtics are starting to look pretty scary again.

One guy has probably kept Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley up deep into the night the past week and it's not Troy Murphy. With the way Rajon Rondo appeared to get his mojo back against the Knicks, he immediately becomes enemy No. 1 for the Heat. Not only do the Heat have no one to guard him, but well, the Heat seriously have no one to guard him.

Rondo dominated the first three games between these teams in the regular season, getting into the paint at will which opened up the entire floor to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He is the most dangerous man on the floor for the Heat. When Rondo is rolling, the Celtics are really good. They're tough for anyone to beat. But for Miami? It's darn near impossible.

Which is a pretty good reason to go ahead and wipe their hands clean of Doug Collins' energetic young bunch. Basketball isn't necessarily like football where you can spend hours watching game tape and developing a strategy for stop another offense or break an opposing defense. Basketball isn't a game for Bill Belichick.

But there is something to be said for preparation. Having a few days just to clear the mind of all the Synergy stats your coaching staff pounding in to your head about Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday and move on to Rondo is huge. Now the Heat can forget things like "When Holiday takes two dribbles with his left hand with 16 on the shot clock and opens his mouth, he's 72.8 percent likely to pass to Andre Iguodala" and start thinking about how Rajon Rondo could possibly kill them.

It's about getting your mind right. Forget the film study and walkthroughs. Just having a few days to mentally prepare and think about what a series it will be against Boston is more important than you think. The rest, the preparation, the confidence -- all that matters. Every little bit. When you're going into a series against a team like the Celtics, any little edge, no matter how small, is important.

Wasting time moving on is bad for a lot of reasons for the Heat. But having the Celtics on the horizon might be the best motivation for finishing this off. The Celtics have already handled their business. They're waiting for the Heat. You don't want to keep them waiting for too long.
Posted on: April 27, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 1:13 pm
 

LeBron James says Sixers are 'breakfast'

Miami Heat forward LeBron James compares closing out the Philadelphia 76ers to breakfast. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-eating

LeBron James and the Miami Heat are about to get eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA Playoffs beginning next week, but that isn't stopping him from talking a little trash in advance of Game 5 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Palm Beach Post quotes James comparing closing out the 76ers to a morning meal
When asked about whether the three days of prep — rather than one — would make a big difference, LeBron James said tonight was about this: “Just finishing our breakfast.”
Continuing this logic, the Celtics become lunch, the Chicago Bulls serve as dinner and the NBA Finals would be Fourth Meal. James' breakfast line is heard in Jay-Z's Public Service Announcement and attributed by the Miami Herald to John Strickland, a friend of both James' and Jay-Z's.

In all seriousness, it's good to hear James so focused on the task at hand. There's nothing worse than an early round playoff series dragging out unnecessarily because the more talented team isn't totally locked in. (Loking at you, Los Angeles Lakers.) Just finish the deal so we can get to the real action.

Bottom line: the Heat should have swept the Sixers, and they know that better than anyone. In other words, tonight could get ugly. Look for the Heat to devour some scrambled Iguodala, a Brand muffin and maybe even a few Hawes cakes. OK, I'll stop. But only because you insist.
Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 6:09 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Die another day

The Sixers stave off elimination and the Heat choke away another game. Does either mean anything in the long run?
Posted by Matt Moore




First, it was certain the Sixers were going to save themselves some pride. Then, it was certain the Sixers were going to blow it again. And in the end, the world gets to celebrate another blown Heat lead, a blocked LeBron shot, and the Sixers live to die another day

The Heat ran off a 22-2 run in the second quarter and lost. The Sixers shot 41 percent and won. And the leading scorer for Philadelphia was Evan Turner, who didn't even play in the first two games of this series. Meanwhile, the Heat's offense wilted and died in the face of a much improved Philadelphia defense. Elton Brand played physical for the first time in this series, and the result was a 5-12 performance from Chris Bosh, who had averaged just under 22 points through the first three games. 

There's two ways to look at this game. 

On the one hand: This series is still over, right? The Heat have a significant lead down the stretch, and it takes a Lou Williams 3-pointer (granted, he's shooting 60 percent from the arc in this series, but still) to stave off elimination at home. The Heat ran off a 22-2 run and had they started with any level of consistency or effort, this would have been a blowout. Sweeping teams in the NBA is remarkably difficult (if you're not the Celtics, apparently), and the Heat giving up a game isn't the end of the world. They've been in control for 13 of the 16 quarters in this series, the chances of the Sixers climbing back in are extremely low. The talent gap is just too great. 

On the other hand: Isn't this how it starts? The Heat fail to close out a bad team in an elimination game. Spirits get down, emotions drop. Then the Sixers use the momentum to steal one in Miami, where the Heat don't have a great homecourt advantage with an apathetic crowd. All of a sudden, it's a 3-2 game going back to Philadelphia, and the Heat are questioning themselves. This sounds like science fiction. But it's what we've come to expect. Until the Heat prove they can commit to closing out a team with force, there will be doubt in people's minds about their ability. They gave this one up. So the model is there for Philadelphia, sans that second quarter disaster. The Sixers aren't dead, because the Heat haven't ended them yet. Until they do, that excitement about the possibility of a Sixers comeback will linger. 

Miami thought they had taken all the pressure off of themselves. They thought they would coast into the second round. But, as much of an advantage as they've had, they still couldn't get it done. The Sixers live to die another die. 
Posted on: April 24, 2011 2:24 am
Edited on: April 24, 2011 2:54 am
 

Series Reset: Sixers' last stand

Can the Sixers take a game? Can anything stop the Heat? Or will the Miami team that failed in key situations in the regular season show its ugly head?
Posted by Matt Moore




The Narrative: This is the end, my only friend, the end. The Sixers have been overwhelmed in Games 1-3. In first-round defined by intensity, close games, and upsets, the Sixers are the one team that didn't show up to the party. They've been outmatched in this series and have shown no ability to figure out a solution to the Heat's Big 3. When Chris Bosh is owning you, you're in trouble. This isn't the same as Pacers-Bulls, where the Pacers have held leads for long stretches. The Sixers have held a lead now and then, but eventually the Heat run them out of the building. This thing's over. Maimi may slack off and let the Sixers get one in, but it'll be a gentleman's sweep (a sweep with a win thrown in to be polite to the other team). For the Heat, this is now about getting rest and continuing to build the sense of team definition they've been struggling to find all season.

The Hook: Chris Bosh was dominant in Game 1, LeBron James in Game 2, Dwyane Wade in Game 3. Who's going to take over in Game 4? Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Mario Chalmers? Mike Bibby? Joel Anthony? Probably not. The most likely scenario is the Big 3 each putting in contributions, the Sixers folding up the tents and this thing ending in a grind-it-out style like most of the series have been. It's true that the Triad has been in rare form in this series, but it's really been the Heat's defense which has done the work. They've shut down Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, frustrating each with matchups and hard switches. They've looked consistent, communicative and smooth. There's just not much you can see in the way of an adjustment that the Sixers could make. Unless...

The Adjustment: It's time for the zone. It can't hurt, right? Making the Heat into jump-shooters is a much preferable end than watching them slice and dice through anyone and everything in their way. The Sixers might as well throw this out there. Sure, it's one step short of the full-court trap in the gimmick department, but the Heat do have a penchant for settling for jumpers when things get tough. They've been nailing them in this series, but again, what does Philadelphia have to lose? They've got to play with pride, but they also need to commit to stopping the Heat from spinning their heads around. Aggressive doubles on Bosh in the post, and hard fouls on LeBron would help, but in reality, the only thing that looks to stop the Heat right now are the Heat. Zone will at least induce them to think about doing what will trip them up. 

The X-Factor: The wounded animal syndrome. The Pacers fought through about 70 bad breaks to beat a very good Chicago team. There's no reason the Sixers can't take one, especially at home. It'll take a monumental amount of pride and some fiery coaching from Doug Collins, but we've seen crazier things. Hey, the Spurs are down 2-1 to Memphis. Surely the Sixers can get one at home. 

The Sticking Point: The Heat look like the best team in the East right now. But it's just the first round. They could use the rest, and they could us the mental edge of taking out a team that can't challenge in a sweep. Will we see the killer instinct? That seems like the only thing between Philadelphia and the brooms. 
Posted on: April 22, 2011 3:56 am
 

Sixers-Heat Game 3 Reactions

Reactions from around the web to Sixers-Heat Game 3.

Posted by Matt Moore
The Heat’s big three demand so much attention and warrant extra bodies to keep them bottled up in the half court. It’s a distraction that spreads the opposing defense thin once the ball goes up, inviting other Heat players to slide into the paint from the weakside. Standing at 7-foot-3, Zydrunas Ilgauskas grabbed eight offensive rebounds simply by positioning himself in the pockets under the basket and playing volleyball near the rim.

“Z probably jumps two inches off the ground,” Heat center Chris Bosh said after the game. “But he has such long arms and his tip game is great. We just wanted to give ourselves second chances.”
via Heat at Sixers, Game 3: Five things we saw - Heat Index Blog - ESPN.

We're seeing this same effective across several series. The Bulls are slaughtering the Pacers on the offensive glass because Indiana has to send three defenders at Rose on any given possession. The result is that there are often several players out of possession trying to force a Rose miss. If he makes it, they're doomed. If he misses, there's two Bulls in position for a putback or a reset for Rose to drive again, and once again, they're doomed. The Sixers faced this problem in triplicate, resulting in the Heat's sub-par bigs cleaning up. Stopping these elite players when they're driving is tough enough. But having to do it and grab the carom is nearly impossible, and that's what we're seeing. Even the Celtics are struggling with it agianst the Knicks. Granted, the Celtics have been a bad offensive rebounding team all season, but Amar'e and Melo are creating even more issues. 
Like I previously mentioned, Brand's mid-range game was on point tonight. It was so refreshing to see him get those attempts off that were missing from his repertoire in Game 2. Although he worked wonders on offense, he was giving Chris Bosh way too much room on the defensive end. Bosh missed his first few attempts, but came back strong and took advantage of all the leeway Brand so graciously gift wrapped for him. He did a much better job on the glass than he did in the previous two games, putting 11 of them on the stat sheet. Impressive number, but his defensive rebounding percentage wasn't exactly encourageable (4.3% if I did the calculations right - I probably didn't).
via Heat Turn it On in the Fourth, Sixers a Game Away from Elimination - Liberty Ballers.

 Brand's defensive lapses were certainly disappointing, but against Bosh, it really is a mismatch. Bosh has to be guarded not only by a player big enough to disrupt him, but long enough to contest his shots. Brand's got decent bulk, but has lost weight to reduce wear and tear on his body. He's simply not long enough to stick Bosh in the mid-post. Bosh's best performance in a three-game set has come at the right time, and he deserves a world of credit for putting the Heat in the next round, once they wrap up this series. 
Throughout, the Heat absorbed, absorbed, absorbed. And when they saw it was time, they conquered the moment, and ultimately, the Sixers, 100-94, to take a commanding, 3-0 lead with a chance to close it out on Sunday at 1 p.m.

So exhausted were the Sixers that a 75-73 lead after three quarters quickly evaporated as they missed eight of their first 10 shots to help Miami forge a 90-80 lead.
via Valiant Sixers fall to Heat in Game 3 | Philadelphia Daily News | 04/21/2011.

Whereas the Bulls are sprinting past the Pacers to the finish, the Heat are simply grinding teams down to their nubs. Both have their advantages in a playoff setting. The Sixers threw the kitchen sink at the Heat in the first and third games, but each time, the Heat have simply maintained, and outlasted. It's a stirring show of consistency which has been sorely lacking from Miami all year. 

The Sixers' strength was their depth, but needing a win so badly, the Sixers shortened their rotation and put their best players on the floor for the majority of the game. And in the end, the Heat simply had more fuel. Kick on the afterburners, and fly on by. The Sixers really did just need one more star player to give them the extra ammo. Without it, they're in an 0-3 hole. 
Dwyane Wade made a significant adjustment by getting the ball on the move. That changed everything about the 76ers’ defense, and also changed Wade’s scoring average in the series. He also pushed through a jammed shoulder. This was his moment.
via Heat 100, 76ers 94 – Miami Heat – Sun-Sentinel.

If you want something really to be scared of? The biggest thing that's shown up in this series has been the return of Dwyane Wade's speed. That looked to be gone in the regular season. It looks back. That's frightening. Three times in the second half, the Sixers sent two defenders to try and slow Wade's dribble. Wade found James. What are you going to do? 

Which is pretty much what Philadelphia's been asking since the series started. 
Posted on: April 22, 2011 12:29 am
Edited on: April 22, 2011 12:49 am
 

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Too much Triad

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are good at basketball. Heat lead 3-0. The end. 
Posted by Matt Moore




It was a noble effort. It really was. The Philadelphia 76ers came out, again, on fire, and outscored the Heat by eight in the opening frame. They flirted with the lead all night after surrendering it in the second. But down the stretch, there simply wasn't enough. Too much Wade. Too much LeBron. Too much Heat. 

The Sixers got 20 points and 8 assists from Jrue Holiday. They got 21 points and 11 boards from Elton Brand. Spencer Hawes had 12 points. Jrue Holiday, Elton Brand, and Andre Iguodala each played 40 minutes, as coach Doug Collins shortened the rotation to try and put everything on the floor to get that one win. But the Sixers just couldn't stop Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. 

It sounds trite to point to the Triad as the reason for the Heat's win, but it holds here, as it did in Game 2. Like we said in the reset, Dwyane Wade was due for a breakout. He broke out. 32 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks. James also dominated, with 24 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal. Bosh added 19. That's 75 percent of the Heat's offense from the Triad. The Heat's defense, however, wasn't on point Thursday night, giving up a 113 defensive efficiency. But they slowed the game down again, converted on the rare transition opportunities, and attacked, attacked, attacked. The Heat had 48 points in the paint, compared to just 34 from the Sixers. The Heat didn't go for the homerun three much. They just attacked the rim relentlessly. 22 free throw attempts for Wade and James. The Sixers just couldn't keep up. 

The Heat have showed a lot in this series. It was a favorable matchup, but they also havn't shown the lack of focus they displayed in the regular season. Closing out the Sixers is remarkably different from trying to close out the Celtics -- their presumed second-round opponent -- but they have to start somewhere. And they're starting by looking like they're about to sweep Philadelphia back into the sea. Rest and recovery is important for a team as shallow as they are. They certainly look like they'll have an opportunity if the can finish the job in Game 4. 

Oh, and LeBron did this. 




Doug Collins put everything out to try and get the win. The Sixers were just outmatched. Some matchup problems have created issues for the Bulls and Celtics. The Sixers have posed no such threat. 

Oh, and all three teams have yet to lose a game in the playoffs. 

For Philly, it's got to be confusing. They only turned the ball over six times, and turned Miami over twice as much. They shot a decent 44 percent from the field. They shot 43 percent from three. They got contributions from unlikely sources, Jrue Holiday had a breakout, and they had a lead, again. It just wasn't enough. There was just no way to stop the Triad. 



"I'm 60 years old. I'm a moral person, but I don't like moral victories." 
Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Series Reset: Sixers are at the plank

Can the Sixers make this a series or is Miami just too much for Philadelphia? First two games don't paint a rosy picture for the Sixers.
Posted by Matt Moore




The Narrative:  It doesn't take a genius to tell you this is a must-win for Philadelphia. A loss and you can fold up the tents, carnies, the circus is leaving town. That's pretty obvious. There are things less likely than the Sixers charging back from an 0-3 deficit to even make the Heat sweat (see what I did there?). They just happen to include a colossal burrito devouring all life on earth and people on the internet learning to live in peace and harmony. It ain't happening. Philly had some things going right in Game 1, but Game 2 came along and sucked all hope in to a vaccumous black hole of defensive rotations and LeBron James dunking all the time. But, they'll be in front of the home crowd, as underwhelming as they may be, and this is their best chance to surprise some people and put the series into a little bit of doubt. We've seen nothing from Philadelphia to suggest that, should they lose this game, their spirit won't be crushed and the brooms won't be brought to the table. 

The Hook : Chris Bosh went off in Game 1. LeBron James dominated in Game 2. Is it Dwyane Wade's turn? Jodie Meeks has done a surprisingly good job in this series chasing Wade, from baseline to baseline, through screens, and contesting as much as possible. Wade's still having a good series because he's a very good player, but Meeks has done pretty well. In a game where you have to think the Sixers will start doubling Bosh and James, more, Wade may have a monster game. There's going to have to be help from the corners to James on the drive and Bosh in the post, and while it would be great to think the Sixers would bring help from a non-Big-3 defender, they haven't shown a willingness to be so brash as to leave one of the supporting players wide open much. They did some of that early in Game 1, when, if you'll notice, they were winning, but got away from it when the Heat started to overload one side with the Triad. If Bosh and James are willing passers, Wade's going to have a good chance at getting free, and that's when the havoc starts. 

The Adjustment: Before we got started, a key to this series was Philadelphia's ability to force the Miami offense out of the pick and roll and into more ISO sets. If they can slow the Heat down and put them in ISO, Miami may try and do too much individually and they choke themselves out on bad fadeaways and blown layups. Instead, in Game 2, the Heat had a 3-1 ratio of Pick and Roll to ISO sets. The Sixers must  shut down the pick and roll and force the Heat into ISO or spot-up situations. There are some teams you can't do this against, they'll just keep hammering you with the P'n'R. The Heat, though, will succumb to the effort and go solo if you make it too difficult for them to run. Spencer Hawes, Marreese Speights, and Elton Brand have to show effectively on the ball handler to back him off or at least wheel him back enough for help to rotate over, and then they must recover against Bosh in the pick and pop for the mid-range. If it sounds like a lot for Philly to do? Well, that's why they're the underdog and the seventh seed. 

The X-Factor: Evan Turner? The No.2 overall pick who didn't even play down the stretch for Philly in favor of the always-terrible Andres Nocioni had some big plays in Game 2. Yes it was a blowout, but looking at what the Sixers accomplished with Turner in to stretch the floor, you have to wonder if Turner doesn't deserve more run. Putting in a point-forward lineup with Turner, Iguodala, and Young to work the inside and outside might be creative enough to counter the Triad for a spell. So far, Doug Collins hasn't used such a lineup much, but when he has, it's been effective. There's no reason not to try it in Game 3 or 4, after all, it's time to throw the kitchen-sink at them. 

The Sticking Point: Miami is better. They are just way better in every matchup, because of the brute strength of the Triad covering up the weaknesses of the others. Usually I'm an advocate that a few key adjustments can turn the series. But Philly threw a lot of their arsenal at the Heat in Game 1, and in Game 2, were totally steamrolled by a Heat team that expected them. It's really hard to see how Philly's going to get out of this hole. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com