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Riley should remind Heat that no rebounds = no rings

May 16, 2011, 1:03 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game One Getty Images

The Miami Heat shot the ball just as well as the Chicago Bulls.

It didn’t feel that way at all, but the Bulls shot 43.7 percent in Game 1 and the Heat shot 47.1 percent. Use effective field goal percentage to account for all the Bulls made threes and it is a nearly identical 49.4 percent for the Bulls and 49.3 percent for the Heat.

But the Bulls took 19 more shots and five more free throw attempts in their 105-90 win— and that was all about the glass. Chicago got 19 offensive rebounds, so on 41.3 percent of their missed shots they got a second chance. The Bulls also had fewer turnovers.

For all the things the Heat need to do differently — and there are a number of things, from working better off the ball on the weak side on offense to defending the pick-and-roll better — rebounding has to be the key. The Bulls have a longer front line but rebounding is as more about effort than height at the NBA level, and the Bulls just wanted it more.

That said, height was an issue in this sense — the Heat have had their best success these playoffs with a small ball lineup. Meaning 6’9″ Joel Anthony at center. The 76ers couldn’t expose the Heat for that, and the Celtics by design don’t try to grab offensive rebounds. But the Bulls do and just destroyed the Heat so severely it made Erik Spoelstra go to Jamal Magloire for 10 minutes to see if that would help. If the Heat have to go away from the Anthony lineup, they could suffer in other ways.

This was not about Rose breaking down the Heat defense — according to Tom Haberstroh of ESPN only one of those rebounds came on Rose penetration. They came off a lot of missed jump shots and some things like Joakim Noah or Carlos Boozer getting inside and drawing defenders, leaving the other big room to operate.

The Bulls were relentless on the glass. In Game 2, they will be relentless on the glass.

One of the legends of Pat Riley’s coaching tenure with the Showtime Lakers was when he wrote on the chalkboard (they still used chalkboards back then):

No rebounds = no rings.

He needs to go down and write that on the white board in the Heat locker room now.

Noah started a lot of his runs to rebounds from the free throw line up or higher. Was able to slide through and get his spots. The Heat have to be aware, have to put a body on him early. When Noah has the ball inside don’t lose track of Boozer.

They better do all of it with real energy and commitment. Or no rings.

  1. philtration - May 16, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    You forgot no Center, no Point Guard and no bench.

  2. stuckonwords - May 16, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Ummm…105-90? The score was 103-82. Isn’t it a little hard to calculate all those fancy percentages that are the basis of your entire argument when you aren’t even remotely close to the number of baskets that got made?

    • okcallday - May 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM

      That was the Thunder-Grizzlies score. This is extremely surprising, usually Kurt never makes factual or grammatical mistakes in his articles…

  3. decimusprime - May 16, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Statistical errors aside, the heat= LBJ & Wade were just plain out of gas. The boston series was their “must win” which they did. But you now have to ask can they refocus on taking the east? Do they have the energy to keep up with Chicago, only to end up playing a young OKC or a deep dallas team for a ring? no energy=no ring

  4. southbeachtalent - May 16, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Is it Wednesday yet?

    • philtration - May 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      Not in the real world.
      What day is it where you live?

    • blueintown - May 16, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      It’s nice to have an extra day to sulk in victory. Right, Einstein?

  5. dirtybird2020 - May 16, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Lol amen to that philtration, no Pippen and Jordan either! Lol

  6. dirtybird2020 - May 16, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Rebounds = rings
    Rebounds = bulls

  7. savocabol1 - May 16, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Please someone make a logical argument why teams need two days of rest in between playoff games.

    • chicago240 - May 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      They don’t. But when Oprah books the United Center months in advance for 5/16, then you move your first game to 5/15 and keep your second game at 5/18. Now who the rocket scientist schedulers for the United Center are that never thought about the potential conflict……that’s a better question.

      • LPad - May 16, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        Given that when Oprah booked her event, no one expected the Bulls to host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to can’t really blame the schedulers for the United Center. Essentially, you’re asking the United Center to go dormant for three months every year because the Bulls or Blackhawks may have to play a playoff game. That’s bad business that would lead to cities kicking out less and less tax dollars to help pay for arenas, which is why the NBA switched the dates. This kind of stuff happens more often than it gets reported. Especially, in cities where both the NBA and NHL teams make the playoffs.

  8. progress2011 - May 16, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I just don’t think you can tinker with your rotation, this late in the playoffs !

    1. Many of the guys don’t regularly practice together, so the timing is off.
    2. Maglore has 2 left foots ( lol ). He cant make a team at the YMCA
    3. Big Z is still 7’3″ . He can clog up the defensive lane and get a few boards. Plus stretch the bulls defense by pulling Noah out because he can make a shot. It also gives Noah, less of a chance to get the rebound.

    The heat need to win with what they have / what got them here ! If they still lose, then they can be certain, they gave it their best shot.

  9. chitownmatt - May 16, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Somebody should remind Riley that three stars and a team of D-leaguers doesn’t equal rings either.

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