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Heat without Wade: Less slashing, more shooting

Jan 23, 2012, 10:51 AM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat Getty Images

Against Milwaukee on Sunday, the Heat role players shot the ball like, well, the Heat role players from last season. Take LeBron James and Chris Bosh out of the equation and the Heat shot 25.7 percent for the game, and were just 2-of-9 from three.

That stood out because it had not been the case for the six games prior — which is why the Heat have looked good without Dwyane Wade.

It is not that the Heat are better or more dangerous without Wade — Erik Spoelstra put it well calling that discussion the “theater of the absurd” — but they have a newfound depth that allows better floor spacing and had been better at shooting (until Sunday). Rather than two guys who are best at slashing, they roll out a lineup that has a combination James Jones, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Mike Miller. Their roster is filled with better shooters this season, something James often lacked in Cleveland.

That is why they started 6-0 without him. Look at this quote from Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, via ESPN’s Heat Index.

“They are a different team without Dwyane,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said. “They space the floor a little bit more and they use the 3-ball a little bit more.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explains the lineup situation while Wade is out well.

Instead of having two slashers who like to create their own shot but aren’t great shooters, the Heat now generally have multiple shooting specialists on the court next to James and Bosh. It is never easy to defend James or Wade when they are on the attack, but it is challenging to have them attack at the same time. But shooters have to be guarded or you’ll often pay the price…

Wade’s latest injury has coincided with the return of Mike Miller from his own injury, which has allowed Spoelstra to play Miller, Shane Battier and James Jones all at once.

When Wade returns that lineup will have to shift. But look for Spoelstra to go to this shooter-heavy lineup for stretches when Wade and LeBron rest. It works.

The Heat are not better without Wade — their pressure and up-tempo attack had then with the most efficient offense in the NBA before Wade went down. Having Wade, Bosh and James brings a diversity to their attack that is very difficult to defend.

But what they have found with him out is another, different way to score. Which is going to make them better come this spring.

  1. cidminion - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    The true fans of the Heat and of the game wouldnt say the Heat are better without Dwayne Wade, its the way Lebron gets when Wade is on the floor. The Lebron James we’ve seen in the 7 games Wade has been out isnt the say as when Wade is in. For whatever reason he sits back and watches. I truly feel that Lebron is waiting for Wade to tell him ” look man, its your team i got your back “. Wades game isnt getting worse but he is slowing down. These injuries are starting to creep up more and more. I think that wade doesnt need to be handling the ball as much as he does. Let Lebron tempo the offense. Wade is a Rip Hamilton with much more athleticism and ability to get to the rack. Wade needs to just move and drain his defender and picking his spots. The man still has game but he has to understand that Lebron needs to be handling the ball now not him.

    • southbeachtalent - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      I agree with your points.

      It comes down to who would you rather have starting in game 7 of the Finals? James Jones or Dwayne Wade?

      That is all.

  2. stayhigh_247 - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    When the do get a championship they will probably rattle off 2-3 in a row. The key to beating them is everybody staying on their man and somebody locking down Lebron. Easier said than done but not impossible. Contest all shooters and dominate the glass. Chalmers is the only one that u have to stay glued to. Shane, miller and jones dont scare me putting the ball on the floor. Now u add Curry to the mix and now Bosh can b Bosh. Its not many teams built to beat miami right now. Chicago, Dallas and….Okc can run with them , but is their defense strong enough? A healthy Boston with the addition of mystery player, but they r not deep enuf. Dwight & Kobe?

  3. crafttractor1234 - Jan 23, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Idiots all of you. The heatles are the same all flash/no heart team they were last season. They’ll get deep into the playoffs but will win nothing because LeChoke disappears in crunch time, Wade is slowing down, Bosh is a third wheel at best and the supporting cast is just horrible. Any trio that believes it appropriate to hold the big party before winning a game just doesn’t get it. Oh, and by the way, Miami is a second-rate craptacular city. Suck it you effing bitches and especially you Kurt.

  4. drewdatwit84 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    We’re as bad as u want us to be huh? I bet if u repeat your statement enough times u might believe that rubbish. This team with the “horrible” supporting cast leads the league in scoring, top 5 in defense, and u say we’re that bad??? …wow, I guess haters REALLY gonna hate lol …don’t be mad bcuz the Heat are better than your favorite garbage team lol

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