Tag:Andre Iguodala
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. 
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:56 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:14 am
 

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: The trap of dominance

The Heat are rolling while the Bulls are struggling. But which is in a better position in the long run?
Posted by Matt Moore




Alright. We hate to bury the Sixers before the heart stops beating, because it's entirely possible they put together a much better effort in games 3 and 4 to even the series. But they certainly look outmatched in the first two meetings. The Sixers pushed the Heat a bit in the first meeting before the Heat responded with a fury. There was no such response in Game 2 , as the Heat clobbered them beyond all reason. And since this is a 2-7 matchup, even with the craziness of the opening weekend of the NBA, we can look ahead just a bit from the first round and ask the question.

Is this really what's best for the Heat? A total roll-over?

While the Lakers and Spurs are dropping their first playoff games to lower seeds and the Bulls are struggling through a much tougher series than the No. 1 seed should, the Miami Heat ran away from the Sixers. The Sixers hung tough for the first quarter and sustained a fourth quarter rally. Other than that? It's been nothing but the Triad show, and the Triad show has been impressive. A sweep seems more likely for the Heat than any alternative. So what does it mean? 

It means that, should the Bulls win two more games, and the Celtics three more, that the Heat will have two battle-tested teams between them and the Finals. But the Heat will be riding the same thing that carried them into the season: hype. It seems counter-intuitive to suggest that losing is better than winning. And it's not. Winning close is better than losing. The Bulls aren't doubting themselves right now. They're feeling good about being halfway out of the first round. Sure, there are things to work on. But the Bulls also had to work to get the two wins they've gotten in the first two games of the playoffs. And that's the result. They worked hard, and as a result, they don't have a loss in the playoffs. This isn't to say that the Heat haven't worked hard. Surely, blowing out the Sixers in such a way as to make the team quit and turn a playoff game into a horrendously boring affair by the middle of the third frame takes a bit of effort. But there's a difference between having to match a team who has the playoff gear, testing you, forcing you to scrap for every point and to rise comebacks, and playing up the score like it's a video game set on "easy." 

The Heat also can't determine who they play. They can't swap with the Bulls (though I'm sure the Bulls would take them up on that for a stretch). They can only beat the team in front of them with the best effort they can muster. And in that regard, they're outperforming the Bulls. But the Bulls will learn things emotionally and mentally against the Pacers. They'll find or remember the gear and intensity of a close playoff series. The Celtics will find the same in a tough series against the Knicks. The Heat? They'll start to buy into themselves, just like Orlando did last year and the Cavaliers before that. And if there's one thing that's shown to undo this team, it's the comfort of destroying softer teams and the stark contrast between those contests and the battles they'll face against great teams. 

The Heat could use a stiff test to show that they can close; like the Celtics and Bulls have. It's the bizarre situation where the Heat could finally benefit from not looking like the greatest team in the league. Typical. Even when the Heat win, they don't win. 




Posted on: April 18, 2011 10:48 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:10 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: LeBron > Philly

LeBron James > Entire Philadelphia Starting 5
Posted by Matt Moore




LeBron James: 29 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists. 

Philadelphia 76ers starting five: 29 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists. 

And that's pretty much all you need to know. James matched the point totals of the entire Philly starting five, and he only played 38 minutes. James scored those 29 points on 19 shots. The Philadelphia starting five scored 29 points on 35 shots. James shot 10 free throws. Philly's starting five shot 8. 

Yeah, it was one of those. 94-73, Miami .

The totals for James are nothing absurd, which says a lot about a. the level of production from James and the other elite players in the league, and b. how truly horrendously awful the Sixers were against a Heat defense. That defense, by the way, that was made to look championship worthy by Philadelphia's never-ending stream of contested mid-range jumpers, blown layups and poor decisions. The Heat maintained position, brought help, and closed off everything inside for the Sixers, who died on the vine. 

James, meanwhile, rarely if ever saw help defense, bulldozed his way past it when it was brought, had the mid-range jumper game working, drew his usual number of fouls and created opportunities in transition. It was the kind of game you'd expect from James in the first round, and it absolutely choked the life out of the Sixers. Andre Iguodala still couldn't match his moves, Thaddeus Young couldn't stop his speed, Jodie Meeks couldn't hang with his size. James is a bad matchup for everyone in the league. He's especially bad for the Sixers. Check the shot chart:




For more on the game, check out the GameTracker.  

This was one of those nights where James had the jumper working. When he's at that level, there's just not much you can do. You have to play back because of his physical abilities, which the Sixers tried at different times, bringing help under the screen. And, when they did, James simply stepped back and nailed the pull-up. He had one ridiculous, unnecessary 3-pointer in the third that kind of sealed the deal, but really, he could simply dominate the game from where he wanted. There wasn't much to be done. 
Most notable were the Philadelphia guards trying to play a slow, grind-it-out game instead of pushing it in transition, backing off of fast-breaks and letting the Heat's defense even further entrench themselves. The Heat killed them, the Sixers killed themselves, and the combination of both means the Sixers can see their playoff pulse starting to fade. 

The 76ers offense probably won't miss as many layups, and easy ones, again (and, hopefully, Doug Collins will take the next mid-range jumpshooter and beat him with some sort of wooden club). But the message has been sent. The Heat are in total control of this series, and it'll take a drastic change in stratagem, lineups or emotion for Philadelphia to claw back in during the two-game set at home.

Otherwise, the Heat will have time to rest up before the next round begins. 
Posted on: April 18, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 4:46 pm
 

Series Reset: Sixers have a chance

We reset the Sixers-Heat series as Game 2 approaches. Can the Sixers get over the hump instead of just challenging?
Posted by Matt Moore

The Narrative: What, an Eastern favorite didn't need a game winner to close out their first game in the first round? Crazy talk!  The Heat just kind of took care of business after a shaky start and then busted down a Sixers charge. Feisty is probably the worse for the Sixers right now, but if you don't win, that doesn't translate to much. Game 1 pretty much established we're likely not going to see a blowout series, but also that the Sixers are outmatched.

The Hook: So what's that mean going forward? It means the Sixers have a chance. They're overmatched, yes, but not to the degree they can't be competitive in the series. The key for them is going to be effort. When you don't have the talent edge, you have to rely on a supreme effort. Without that, the Sixers are just trying to match up, which they can't. But with the Heat feeling confident, even after a close win in Game 1, there might be room for an upset. Getting a big head start again is key, just as much as keeping it. 

The Adjustment: Who to help? Chris Bosh kiled the Sixers in Game 1 with 25 points. So do you bring help on Bosh and leave yourself open to damage from Wade and James? Or do you sacrifice open looks for the Heat shooters? The answer is the latter, obviously. The best strategy against the Heat is to focus all the energy on whichever of the Triad is hot and hope the sub-par support players on the Heat choke themselves out. 

The X-Factor: Thadeus Young. Young was downright relentless in Game 1, and especially in the fourth quarter. The Heat primarily tried guarding him with Chris Bosh and James Jones. It did not work. As problematic as Andre Iguodala can be for the Heat, they may want to keep LeBron James on Young and stick Wade on Iguodala. 

The Sticking Point: According to Synergy Sports, the Sixers ran seven transition plays in the first quarter. They only had eight opportunities the rest of the game. If the Sixers want a chance to make this competitive, they have to keep pushing the ball. They can't count on turnovers, so it's going to take Jrue Holiday setting the tone. The Heat have no one to check Holiday without exposing themselves to significant risk, so the Sixers have to make them pay. If they let the Heat grind the game down and stretch it out, they're going to get worn down into four losses and an early exit. 
Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: April 17, 2011 2:29 am
 

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: How Bosh got it done

Chris Bosh takes advantage of what should always have been his role with the Heat: cleaning up after the attention on Wade and James. 
Posted by Matt Moore
Chris Bosh does not have the same fanfare and attention that his two superstar teammates -- LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- possess.

And while James, a two-time league MVP, and Wade, a former NBA Finals MVP, will have a bright spotlight cast upon them throughout their first playoff experience together as teammates, they both know that Bosh, a six-time All-Star, will need to play at a high level if the Heat are going to be holding the championship trophy come June.

"C.B. is the most important player on our team," said James following the Heat's 97-89 win over the 76ers in Game 1. "When C.B. plays aggressive, when C.B. shoots the ball well, and when he rebounds, we are a very, very, very good team."
via Bosh's play could be determining factor in Heat's playoff run - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball .

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Chris Bosh was key in the Heat's victory over the Sixers, and while he's caught the most criticism as a member of the Triad this season, he also holds huge potential to turn them into an entirely different team. Perhaps most interesting about his 25-point, 12-rebound performance against the Sixers Saturday was that his production came so much as an auxilliary player. In essence, it was more what the Heat had planned when they got together this summer. 

The idea was that with three of the top ten (at the time, five, but, let's be honest, not so much in retrospect) players in the league, the Heat would always have someone open. But their inability to create space or work in tandem effectively meant instead it was three great players going ISO a lot. Against the Sixers, Philadelphia keyed on James and Wade. The result was Bosh getting lots of looks off-ball.

Bosh scored six points on seven possessions in the post, but four of those came on drawn fouls. He put back two offensive rebounds, created both times by attention caused by James and Wade. He scored seven points on seven possessions in the pick and roll, and this was his bread and butter. Twice he benefited from a pick-and-pop situation involving someone other than himself as the screener. When James or Wade came off the pick, the defense hedged hard on them, opening up the screen man, and driving the defense to rotate to that man. Bosh would then leak out. Twice he got open looks on account of this set.

Sounds stunning, right? Hey, let's use the third best player on the team who is a top power-forward in this league and use him to get easy buckets considering he can score from anywhere! Magic! But this is the kind of play that eluded the Heat all season. Getting it going against the Sixers is a step towards getting themselves in a position to compete in the second round against (presumably) Boston. While the Heat offense was far from its best against a feisty Sixers team, it was good enough to show what it's capable of. 

Bosh drew fouls, worked off-ball, hit the glass (which cannot be emphasized enough), and helped the Heat walk away with a win. If the defense is forced to account for Bosh, that's going to create more opportunities for Wade and James. As long as the reserve players can provide anything, literally anything, the Heat are on track for where they want to go offensively in the playoffs. 


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

NBA Playoffs Sixers-Heat: Miami grinds it out


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 .

More on 76ers at Heat
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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. 

Notes: 

  • 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. 
 
 
 
 
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