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Tag:Heat
Posted on: November 9, 2010 8:17 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2010 2:30 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down: Week 2

The Mavericks, Hornets, and Cavs rise, while the Heat, Blazers, and Timberwolves tumble in our power rankings.
Posted by Matt Moore
 



Our Power Rankings for Week 2 are out. Here at F&R, we'll give the the direct line to who was notable in the rankings from week to week. Here's three who are up and three who are down in week 2.

3-Up


Dallas Mavericks (8): Mavericks rise from 14 to 8 this week and have big victories over the Nuggets (split on a home-and-home) and the Celtics. That's a tasty platter. And for once, they're getting it done with defense. Dallas boasts the fifth best defense in terms of defensive efficiency. Combine that with a legit superstar in Dirk Nowitzki who's carrying 25.8 points per game for Dallas along with 9 rebounds. Dirk's certainly motivated. Offense needs a step up (and a step down in turnovers), but they're getting it done.

New Orleans Hornets (3): KB already told you how they're such a surprise this season, and they rightly rise in the rankings from 5 to 3. Chris Paul is awesome, we already knew that. Okafor's being a man's man, we already knew that, but don't sleep on David West. West has been consistently there for the Hornets, through last year with Paul's injury and Okafor's adjustment, and this season all he's doing is averaging 18 per game shooting 55% from the field, 6.5 boards, and 1 block per game. He's reliable, he's consistent, he's efficient, and he's just as much a part of the Hornets' success as the returning star and resurgent big. Tough week coming up for the Hornets with Portland and Dallas. We'll see if they're still undefeated last week. If they are, going to be hard to keep them out of the second overall spot (LA is still  LA).

Cleveland Cavaliers (20): Eight slot bump for the Cavs this week, who, if they keep this up will be your sentimental favorite in the playoffs come April (in what could be a first-round series with Miami - yikes). The Cavs are just working. The odd thing about it? For years the Cavs have been a tremendous defensive team that couldn't get the buckets. Now it's completely flipped. Their offense is filling it up, but they're letting their opponents get to buckets pretty easy. The weird part is it isn't their at-rim defense, it's their midrange defense that's lacking. Meanwhile, though, J.J. Hickson-Gibson is your new hotness. Bizarre what a new coach can do for you. This team isn't just hanging, they're playing pretty decently, and Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison are largely irrelevant. Which means they could trade both those guys to get younger pieces and still compete.

3-Down

Miami Heat (4): A drop with a loss to the Hornets that they could have won, had they not kept handing off the ball to James Jones and Eddie House who were frozen. With Chris Bosh struggling to find his place , and both of the other stars deferring way too much, the Heat have some problems. Huge week with a rematch versus Boston on Thursday at home. Could this team have 3 losses by the middle of November?  Not exactly Most Dominant Ever so far.

Portland Trail Blazers (9): A minor drop but this team is on kind of a ledge. They get outworked by the Thunder and then obliterated by the Lakers with an unimpressive push against the Raps in-between. It's hard to believe Oden is the difference in this team, and with Brandon Roy talking like he's 35 , and with OKC and New Orleans in the next week, this team will either rise or tumble under the pressure.

Minnesota Timberwolves (29): You know the road kill that makes it all the way to the lane divider? Where it manages to make some progress before having its life ended in a violent and brief encounter with a motor vehicle? That's the Wolves. The past two years they've managed to get an early win, before melting into nothingness. The Wolves were absolutely annihilated by both Miami and Orlando and look absolutely lost on both ends. Michael Beasley cares and is playing well, but in reality, there's just not a lot here for them to develop. The coaching is bad, the team is young, but it's also bad, and the overall construction of the team is bad. It's not surprising, but it's still a downward move from the first week where they just looked pretty bad versus pretty terrible.





Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:49 pm
 

Chris Bosh isn't finding things easy so far

Chris Bosh struggling in the post and on the boards so far amid the Triad.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the Miami Triad got together this summer, each probably wondered which of the other two would struggle. After all, they themselves would be fine. But some of the others may have difficulty in adjusting to their new roles. Turns out Chris Bosh seems to be the unlucky one, and even he admits it. His solution? Talk to the King (James). The Miami Herald reports of an on-plane meeting between Bosh and James, in which Bosh owned up to his own problems with the new Heat.

"I was just honest,'' Bosh said. ``I get a little lost out there because it's different.''

Lost is a tough word, but it's pretty accurate. Bosh has seemed to wander at times, and it's showing in his production. Some loss in production was to be expected with how much he's having to share the ball amongst the new superstar friends, but 13.3 points and more importantly 5.5 rebounds is a pretty severe drop-off. What's interesting is that Bosh's role in the offense? Hasn't changed much from Toronto.

Last season in Toronto according to Synergy Sports , Bosh spent 35% of this time in the post. This year? 34%. The difference is last year he shot 53% from the post and this year just 38%. Bosh spent 18% of his plays in Isolation plays last year, this year 17%. Bosh only spent 12% of his plays in the pick and roll, this year, that's up to 19%. And he's shooting 53% out of it.

So what gives? In short, the Heat need Bosh to be a premier post presence, but he's much better in the pick and roll or pick and pop, and face up.

Rebounding is the real issue, though. Last year, Bosh collected 17.7% of all available rebounds (TRR). This year he's grabbing less than 10% of the Heat's. Toronto was a terrible rebounding team with a power forward (Andrea Bargnani) at center, but still. Bosh grabbed 9.8% of all available offensive rebounds, this year it's down to 2.8%. Being the primary big man is not working out so well for Bosh. Which may be why he says he needs to get more aggressive.
"I've kind of been on my heels for the first part of the season, so I'm starting to figure it out; it's starting to come to me,'' he said after Saturday's 101-89 victory against the Nets. ``But at the end of the day, I just have to be aggressive. That's what it's all about.''

That is what it's all about, and so far, Bosh hasn't been about it.
Posted on: November 5, 2010 11:10 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2010 1:47 am
 

At the Buzzer: CP3 bests the Miami 3 in Big Easy

Hornets topple Heat as CP3 shines alongside Okafor. Posted by Matt Moore

Chris Paul overcame a furious comeback from the Miami Heat, dishing to a wide-open Trevor Ariza for the game-clinching three-pointer while David West nailed the key free throws to hold on for a 96-93 win in New Orleans to push the Hornets to 6-0.

Notes and miscellanea:

  • First off, the Heat, for reasons beyond comprehension, continue to work with their stars to create wide-open shots for teammates who are not capable of hitting them to the volume they are being asked to. Worse, they continue to force the issue even when said teammates are obviously colder than a polar bear's toenails. James Jones and Eddie House were a combined 2 of 13 from 3-point land, and yet House the shooter they went to, down 3 with seven seconds remaining. Not Wade, Not James. 0-fer Eddie House. 
  • But if the Heat want to really examine why they lost their second game in the first two weeks of the season, they have to examine the two areas everyone pointed to coming in. The Hornets abused them both at the point guard and center positions. Carlos Arroyo tried for about a half to guard Chris Paul before Erik Spoelstra was forced to turn to Wade to defend CP3, who did a much better job. Well, I mean, held him to only 19 assists and 13 points.
  • Meanwhile, Okafor was dominant, with 26 points on 12 of 13 shooting and 13 boards. Best of all, for the first time that I've seen, Okafor really looked to understand the kind of movement he needed to have with CP3. He even had some of those alley-oops Tyson Chandler used to catch back in the Hornets run of 2008. He had the mid-range going, the baby hook, the swing-up fadeaway, the whole repertoire. And by whole repertoire, I mean a lot of shots he's never shown reliably before this year. Devastating inside-out attack.
  • For Ariza to nail the corner three to finish the game was a shock because he didn't look good for much of the game, opting for pull-up threes in transition and other Ariza-shots. But he hit the one he needed to.
  • The Hornets broke out in transition ridiculously fast. With Paul getting 5 steals, they managed to burst out and all the Hornets would rush out. The Heat on the other hand seemed to be trying to glide down court, with little to no intensity. 
  • Jason Smith was huge for the Hornets, as he continuously burned the Heat who let him have the 18 foot jumper.
  • Wade had 28, 10, and 7, but also had 7 turnovers. His matchup with CP3 late was pretty epic.
  • The Heat eventuall switched to a shallow perimeter trap on Paul, which is the best way to go. A high trap he'll split and in space he's killer. Unfortunately, the Hornets switched to a double-screen which freed him to do damage down the stretch.
  • The game nearly came down to a technical foul called on Paul after throwing his fist following an offensive foul. Paul even tried to contain himself afterwards to not get busted, to no avail. The officials are still not kidding about the tech rules. 
  • Chris Bosh had a rebound tonight. A single board. And was useless in the post. He was great from mid-range and on tip-ins, but Bosh is simply not the kind of low-post big you'd want him to be.
  • The Heat defense, which had been so good, gave up a 107.9 efficiency rating, and 49% field goal percentage. That's not going to get it done.
  • Conversely, it may be time to start accepting that the Hornets are for real. The trifecta of firepower they brought in (Paul-West-Okafor) is firing on all cylinders, their shooters are hitting from the outside, and true to Monty Williams' word, they're out and running in transition. It's still early, but the Hornets very much look for real.

Finally, these images from our GameTracker pretty much put it in perspective.








Note the numbers, for Okafor. That big square down in the paint? That stands for 9 shots, 8 makes. Manly.

Posted on: November 5, 2010 12:41 pm
 

Cleveland has an answer for LeBron's question

Posted by Matt Moore

"What Should I Do?"

That's the question that's being asked every single night on every single commercial break in the NBA. It's relentless, it's constant, and while the early applause was deafening, the predictable backlash has begun. But nowhere, naturally, is it as fierce as in Cleveland.

Exhibit A.



If zings were weapons, that would be an atomic bomb.

Cleveland's got a great point on all those issues. I think the Game 5 question is one that will demand study for years, in chapters of books on LeBron and the current NBA age, but other than that, they're pretty on point. Well, besides James not having a legacy, because he does, because he's a basketball player on the professional level and very good at it. Thsoe guys tend to transcend, despite screwing over a Midwestern town.

The crux of this article brings up the best philosophical question about James' actions. Everyone, everyone, everyone agrees that the worst part of what James did wrong was "The Decision" and how he did it. ("Thanks.") But the question is if Cleveland really truly is just angry about that aspect and wouldn't have found something else to rage on if he'd notified them in good conscience. Is "The Decision" just the scapegoat for Cleveland's significant anguish over their sports teams and the loss of an icon? Or is it genuinely the beating heart of the rage that continues to spill from the Lake and which is going to make the Heat and Cavs' first meeting an outright riot zone, despite the presence of increased security?

We're never going to get an answer to that question, but the cause is insignificant. The reality is this. Cleveland has every right to hate LeBron James, and they are exercising that right to their fullest ability.

We're officially less than a month away from Heat at Cavaliers on December 2nd.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 11:06 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:20 pm
 

Cavs fans thank Rivers for beating Heat, LeBron


Posted by Matt Moore

Had the Boston Celtics, hated rivals of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the past three years, not eliminated the Cavaliers unceremoniously, there's a chance , again, a chance that LeBron James would not have left Cleveland. The Cavs were a fine team last year, and it's not impossible to see them getting past Orlando in the Conference Finals, nor L.A. who they swept in the regular season. It's not beyond the realm of possibility. It's just as likely that James would have left regardless, that he'd decided months ago, that it was long ago decided. It's also possible he could have won a championship with the Cavs and then walked away with a clean conscience.

But still, the Cavaliers fans don't love the Celtics, right? They don't respect and value the team that walked all over them, bullied them, right?

Well, okay, maybe a little. As Dustin Hoffman mumbled in Dick Tracy , the enemy of my enemy is my friend. From Cleveland blog Waiting For Next Year :



OK, then.

Cleveland? Can we talk? As friends do? Great. See, the thing is, Doc Rivers is a really nice man and an honorable dude. And it's almost impossible to really dislike him. But come on. I get that you're angry with LeBron, but the Celtics should still be "the other bad guys" to Cleveland. Take all the satisfaction in the world that the Celtics took LeBron and the Heat down a peg. But Doc Rivers isn't the good guy here. In your situation with LeBron? There are no good guys except you, the loyal fans.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 9:35 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 10:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.27.10: Celebration

Boston's celebrating knocking down the ringer, the Lakers are celebrating being champs with their faces on rings, and ... Bieber.
Posted by Matt Moore


  • Well, you know, the Boston media's probably being their usual reasonable selves this morning. I mean, who would gloat aftet the first game of the season when everyone's been saying all that matters is what happens in April, May and June? I mean, come on, it's not like last night was really a statement ga....Oh.  From the Boston Globe :
"This was the most hyped and anticipated opening-night game in the league’s 65-year history. Everyone with an interest in the sport of professional basketball wanted to see the mighty Miami Heat, the team with the latest Big Three, the team that was going to re-glamorize the NBA, and never mind the fact we have a two-time defending champion located in the glamour capital of the US of A. 

But if the nation, the world, the uni verse, the galaxy, whatever, tuned in to see the mighty Miami Heat, they were re-introduced to the reality of the Boston Celtics , who have won a championship and have had two legitimate shots at others in the past three years, and who certainly look to be new and improved this season. The mighty Miami Heat could have been given a much easier opening-night foe than the Celtics’ squad that handed them an 88-80 loss to ensure they will not go 82-0."
  • The Lakers did what the Lakers do, come from behind in games where they look lackluster and walk out with a win. They were down big in the first half but stuck around because they did what championship teams do. They held on to their possessions .
  • The Lakers' championship rings have their faces on them. Literally . And part of the ball from Game 7 last year. If the Finals are Lakers-Celtics again, can we have them play with those rings up for grabs?
  • The Orlando Sentinel is laughing at the Heat... for losing to the Celtics... who knocked the Magic out of the playoffs this year. Rivalry priorities. You do not have them.
  • When you face the Suns, you have to be able to withstand runs. And that's what Portland did with their bench .

 

Posted on: October 27, 2010 2:34 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 11:40 am
 

Heat become Cavaliers II against Celtics

We break down how the Heat's spacing failed and how the Celtics' defense made LeBron James settle, frame by frame.
Posted by Matt Moore


It was supposed to be different, right from the start. Even with the newness, it wasn't supposed to look or feel like last year. But with his team down to a superior defensive team on the road, and struggling offensively, it was just as it's always been . LeBron James had to take over, had to run point, had to do everything, leading to a defensive adjustment to shut him down and another struggling result. Part of the reason? Too often poor spacing on the part of the Heat, a hallmark for his Cleveland teams on offense, lead to James taking ridiculous contested shots.

Like, oh, say this one.

ENTER THE DRAGON. WITH HIS HEAD DOWN.




James dribbles up court and this is what he meets. Four defenders all out to meet him. They're not concerned with his screen man, they're not concerned with his shooters, they'e just eyeing James. Any attempt to reset this offense and stretch things out might improve spacing, but then again, the Celtics have been killing the Heat with their abilty to cover the entire floor all night. James elects to try and make something happen.

I THINK THEY ARE ON TO YOUR CLEVER RUSE.




As James come off the screen, you'll notice there are four Heat players within ten feet of each other, all at the top of the key. Pierce spins around his screen man, abandoning him to stay in front of James on the drive. James rolls high but doesn't attack the wing, instead, pausing at the top. As you see here, there is now a complete green wall between him and the basket and the lone shooter in the corner, Wade, is meaningless, and his defender, Ray Allen, knows it, leaving him relatively open. The ball's not coming to him.

SURE, THIS IS A GOOD IDEA.



James' roll man just stops, not rolling baseline to where you'll notice, THERE IS NO ONE, and just stands there. Three Celtics defenders are waiting on him and if he tries to spot up, they'll be right there to contest. James elects to rise and fire. But hey, it's an eight point game and he's the best player in basketball. Surely this ends well.

OH.



Well, then, at least you didn't leave 16 seconds on the clock you could have used to get a better shot in a three-possession game and you had rebounders. Or, you didn't. Bosh fails to grab the loose ball, and it goes out on him, Celtics get the ball up 8 with 1:58 to go.

Rough.

Don't get me wrong, there were several insane-o moves from James all night. (See 1:58 in this clip for reference .) But the same problems exist and when you don't have spacing and you don't have guys that will knock down shots, you're in trouble. And players like Eddie House weren't knocking down anything down anywhere. Here's House's shot chart from our CBSSports.com Game Tracker :



When that's your help? You're not in good shape. But half the time, they weren't even getting to that point, as constantly the Celtics turned the Heat into a one-man show. And while James is simply good enough to make you pay some of the time, it's not a sustainable strategy . And that's what you have to have against the Celtics, that's what you have to have in the playoffs. A strategy and scheme that will fail a lower percentage of the time on average than it will succeed. There's no Magic formula of talent that will overcome the percentages the Celtics make you play with bad shots, contested, in bad situations.

This was because the Heat haven't played together. It's because they need to learn one another. It's because Wade was rusty as all get out and the team was nervous. But it was also because the Heat played right into the Celtics' hands. And that's why they walked away losers on their hyped debut.

For more on the game, check out Ken Berger's discussion of how far the Heat are from the glitter and lights of their formation, live from Boston.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 12:44 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 10:54 am
 

Video: Wade, James speak after Heat loss

Video: Wade, James speak about loss to Celtics in season opener after poor shooting performance.
Posted by Matt Moore

Well, if the first game is any indication, Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, and those Bulls can put the champagne on ice. The Celtics dismantled the Big 3 on Tuesday night to start the much-hyped team off to a rocky start. For the Celtics, it was business as usual, holding the Heat defensively to abysmal numbers and getting easy buckets at will. A late comeback was for naught, and now the Heat get another new experience. Explaining losses for a team that's never supposed to lose due to their talent. CBSSports.com was there and in this video, we get Dwyane Wade and LeBron James' comments on the loss.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com