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Are the Miami Heat clutch? Not by the numbers.

Apr 25, 2011, 11:28 AM EDT

Miami Heat forward James reacts on the bench while playing against the 76ers in the second  quarter during Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Philadelphia Reuters

The real test for the Miami Heat is coming.

No, not Tuesday night, they will destroy the Sixers in that game.

We’re talking next weekend, when they will take on Boston in round two. Or the conference semi-finals. Or when the playoffs really get serious. Whatever you want to call it.

There are going to be close games. Hard fought games. And at the end when everything hinges on one key shot…

Boston may have a big advantage. Look at the numbers from ESPN’s Stats team, via TrueHoop, as they walk you through the end of Game 4 Sunday.

Then after the 76ers took a two point lead it was LeBron James‘ turn. James was the only Heat player who had played well offensively in the fourth making four of his seven field goal attempts up to that point and scoring 12 of the teams 16 points.

But just like the regular season James continued to struggle in this situation. Including regular season games he is now just 1-for-8 on field goal attempts with 10 seconds or less remaining in games when the Heat were tied or down by three-points or less.

In fact the Heat as a team are now just 1-for-19 from the field in the final 10 seconds when tied or trailing by three or fewer including both regular season and postseason games. That is the worst field goal percentage of any team in the NBA this season.

Yes, that is a rather arbitrary statistic and we could dig up one that says the Heat do make big plays at the end of games by widening the parameters. Yes, this is an example of small sample size theater. Yes, what really matters is that the Heat blow teams out most of the time so the end of game shots are sort of moot.

But it’s something to watch, because in a close playoff game Sunday I saw the 76ers outplay the Heat late. And it makes you wonder. What happens with a physical and stingy Celtics defense on them, how will the Heat react in the pressure of the playoffs? We don’t know. But these numbers may be a clue, and we know the Celtics can execute at the end of games.

  1. savocabol1 - Apr 25, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    ANY team with Lebron on it is not clutch.

  2. Ryan Karhut - Apr 25, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    I love the pure hatred for LeBron felt by the world. Here’s a link to a forgotten clutch guy in Brandon Roy and the top ten plays from the NBA on sunday.

    Weekend Wrap-Up: http://t.co/BDZnIkX

  3. mk2323 - Apr 25, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Waste of a article

  4. nfl25 - Apr 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    they are at their best in Miam cuz they get every call. im not a fan of lebron at all, he bothers the hel$ outta me. not cuz he is good, but cuz he is a cry baby that thinks he could get away with anything. i dont feel like that about d wade. dwade is a stud, and i am a sixers fan

  5. delius1967 - Apr 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    “Yes, what really matters is that the Heat blow teams out most of the time so the end of game shots are sort of moot.”

    You can say that for a lot of playoff teams, but it is how you perform against the Wizards and Raptors of the NBA that is the real moot point.

    The Heat had 20 games this season that were decided by five points or less, and they were 6-14 in those games. Boston had 32 such games, and they were 19-13 in them. Chicago had 25, and they went 17-8. That’s a pretty telling difference.

  6. danvoges - Apr 25, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    good point del. my friends and i were wondering last night what the heat’s shooting percentage is in the last 10 seconds of close games. we had basically the same parameters so i dont think its biased against the heat at all. and the heat are my favorite team to watch.

  7. otisls - Apr 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    without knowing how the Heat and it’s players compare to other teams and their players, these numbers are meaningless and biased;

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