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Are the Heat dribbling themselves into trouble?

Mar 9, 2011, 4:10 PM EDT

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh AP

By my count today, there are 1,563,459 theories on what is wrong with the Heat, and twice as many stories about said theories.

One of those jumped out at me — the Heat are dribbling too much.

That’s what former Denver Nugget staffer and stats guru (he literally wrote the book), now ESPN staffer (and stats guy) Dean Oliver wrote at TrueHoop — there are a lot of guys pounding the ball and not a lot of guys passing the ball.

Dribble charts show where and how much teams dribble in order to score, and the Heat have a big red area indicating that they dribble to score more than any other team. Miami’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all dribble to create their own shots, and they all do so in the lane.

It’s great to have guys who can break a defense down off the dribble, but the Big Three seems toneed to do so. At this point, they haven’t shown the ability to work off each other consistently.

In the half-court, the Heat have the lowest rate of assisted layups in the league, and it isn’t close: Only 45 percent of their layups and dunks in the half court are assisted, while the next-worst team is at 54 percent and the league average is about 62 percent. The Celtics have 70 percent of their half-court layups assisted, and the Lakers 69 percent.

Oliver notes that team that can defend the three point line and the rim — Chicago, Boston and San Antonio — have given the Heat fits. (The Lakers have done that well of late also, and they are next up for Miami.)

What the Heat need is Chris Bosh cutting to the basket when his man leaves him to help on the drive. It needs the wing players moving more when their man helps, either to better spots on the arc or diving to the basket. But be a moving target. James and Wade have a history of hitting those guys with passes, Oliver notes.

His advice includes something Miami actually started to last night in Portland, running some pick-and-rolls with LeBron James setting the picks. (It worked pretty well, but the Heat played terrible defense Tuesday and that cost them the game against Portland.)

All the advice comes back to one point — the Heat needs is players to move, the ball to move, and less isolation and dribbling. Which frankly they know, but are they willing to do?

  1. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    If the coach had LeBron bring the ball up and draw two defenders and then pass the ball to a man on man
    covered or open Wade they could have him hit a open shot or draw a foul on his way to the basket.
    The Heat are not winning this year without a bench and the Celtics and Bulls are scary.The new look Knicks( my home town team) are scary with two good ball scorers but may play too many playoff road games.The Mamba and his squad will reign again my friends.

  2. thestudiokida - Mar 9, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    This has been an obvious flaw from the start of the season. They don’t have the kind of chemistry that successful teams have, where a guy can cut and know that he has other cutters or trailers to pass the ball to when he gets stopped. Utah was an excellent example of this; Deron drives the ball and passes to a big like Millsap or Jefferson and he either shoots or makes an easy pass to the other big for a score or assists.

  3. koolredd - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    What the heat are missing is two things. First they need to go back their winning ways. The bench they are using Now is NOT the bench that they used when they were at the top of their game. where is Eddie House and Jawan Howard? And Joel Anthony? Get back to your wining ways and players and you notice a BIG difference. The second thing they need is a big man (center) that can score. look at all the team at the top, they all have big men that crash the boards and can score. our centers don’t do a thing. With a center that is a force of the Heat, LaBron and Dwayne will get it done. Also notice that Chris Bosh has become no better than Damper or even Mike Miller. What happenEd to Chris’ game? Change your losing ways and you will see the difference.


  4. dnbajunkie - Mar 9, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    I guess there’s too many generals and not enough good foot soldiers in this team. Good teamwork will always prevail over one man team at any given time, that’s why its called a team sport. They really have to start to get their teammates involved and trust in them no matter what the public perception is about the role players.

  5. hnirobert3 - Mar 10, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Here’s a set play for my Heat.

    Bosh inbound to Chalmers
    Chalmers dribbles to halfcourt, passes to LeBron (20 secs on shot clock)
    LeBron looks for Bosh but notices he’s standing closer to the 3 pt line than the rim
    LeBron dribbles to the top of the key (15 secs on shot clock)
    LeBron passes to Wade
    Wade passes back to LeBron (11 secs on shot clock)
    LeBron looks for Bosh but notices he’s standing closer to the 3 pt line than the rim (7 secs on shot clock)
    LeBron dribbles to the elbow and does a fade away jumper that clanks off the rim (2 secs on shot clock)
    Since Bosh is by the 3 point line and Dampier can’t jump, the defense picks up an easy rebound

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