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Is Miami finding its defensive footing? If so, watch out.

Dec 3, 2012, 8:01 AM EDT

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade AP

Miami has been getting it done with offense. It has the best record in the Eastern Conference, it has won six in a row and it’s mostly been because LeBron James is LeBron James and Chris Bosh is having a very efficient season.

But the last couple games, the Heat’s defense has started to come together. They allow 102.8 points allowed per 100 possessions, which is 19th in the league. However, they held the Brooklyn Nets to 91.9 points per 100 possessions and 32.3 percent shooting in the second half. A few days the earlier the Heat held the Spurs to 100 points.

Are the Heat starting to figure it out? Dwyane Wade told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel he thinks so.

“We’re a better defensive team than we’ve been,” guard Dwyane Wade said. “Obviously, to win championships, for one you have to be a good defensive team, and, two, you have to rebound the ball….

“We understand that we have a lot of room for improvement,” Wade said. “That’s a good thing for this team, but you also have to take care of it.”

There is a lingering sign the Heat knew what to do on defense — they played much better in the second half all season. Their defensive rating was 105.7 (points per 100 possessions) in the first half this season, but that fell to 100.6 in the second half. The Heat have seemed to coast at points this season, not to have their full focus in the games. But when the games got tight they got better.

Face it, the Heat are starting to find their defensive footing and get better at that end of the court. And they have the best record in the East already. Watch out.

  1. letangusespertplus - Dec 3, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Cool formatting Kurt. Another A+ article from PBT.

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 3, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    First of all, it’s way too early to think that the way games are going now will have any effect on how they go in May/June.

    Second of all, it’s a little late to start “watching out” now.

  3. hartdaddy - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Wait, last I checked…aren’t the Heat the WORST rebounding team in the NBA at the moment?

    • pantsfreezone - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      No, that would be the Celtics.

  4. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    And congratulations to Lebron James. SI’s Sportsman of the Year 2012. Picture on the cover is of LBJ with a big, fat, beautiful, championship ring right there on his hand for all of us to see. Earned. Not given. And it was about damn time.

    • letangusespertplus - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      given. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/–fW2jvzVKfY/T-HMz9LXBMI/AAAAAAAACwE/sfhyiYork9Y/s1600/Miami's+Big+3.jpg

      • jt1138 - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        Christ, let it go! The refs didn’t help them win. Deal with it.

  5. yousuxxors - Dec 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I bet you kurt smells baby bron bron underwear after each game and blows him.

  6. michaeljordanseviltwin - Dec 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Kurt where do you get your advanced stats like points per possession in first half/second half? I use NBA reference and Hoopdata but sometimes our numbers don’t match.

    • scooper15928 - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      basketball-reference and hoopsdata are great sites. He might also get the stats from 82games.com, that’s another one with some interesting advanced stats.

  7. miamatt - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    A few points:

    I’d like to see the defensive intensity be mainted for a couple of weeks before I conclude that they are back to taking it seriously. The 2nd half of the Nets game was magnificent, but that travesty against the Spurs bench? How could you possibly bring that up as a point in Miami’s favor?

    What really struck me about the Nets game was how the Heat responded to being punched in the mouth. There were some calls going against Miami and some hard fouls by the Nets, and that really seemed to wake up tye Heat. Wade is one of those guys who is at his best when he plays angry, and we all saw that Saturday night. LeBron isn’t necessarily at his best angry, but he is at his best when he is passionate, and I think the Nets did Miami a tremendous favor by trying to beat up on those guys- that was the fulcrum upon which this game turned.

    The most encouraging sign for Miami this year has been that they are at their best offensively and defensively in the last 3 minutes and overtime of games. Even though they are playing down to the level of inferior competition, they close with ease. Two years ago, Miami either blew people out, or it was a real dicey proposition. How the pages have turned on that notion.

  8. paulwoodsby - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Yeah their starters did a great job against the bottom of the Spurs bench. Oh wait, no they didn’t.

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