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Miami’s Defense: An Ongoing Concern


One of these guys will be shipped out for an upgrade

Here’s an equal opportunity problem.

Whether you think the Celtics have a chance at a title in 2012 or will need to rebuild first, Miami’s perimeter defense presents a serious problem.

Miami is tied with Chicago for second in the playoffs with a 98.2 defensive efficiency rating (small sample-sized Orlando is first) despite a frontline that’s as patchwork as it will be at any point during the LBJ-Wade-Bosh era. Of course, with Udonis Haslem back in the fold, the searing, regular season criticism of the Heat’s big positions feels overplayed.

Still, Miami is stifling its opponents’ perimeter offense (both shooting and dribble penetration) based on a team defensive concept that’s only likely to be refined, with the benefit of two elite guys in Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, whose elite-ness won’t soon wane, and with reinforcements likely to come as veterans go ring chasing.

What’s more worrying, they’ll improve not only at the big positions but at the smalls. Imagine the Heat starting a great defensive point guard rather than Mike Bibby. With that sea change in defensive impact, teams playing the Heat could find themselves trying to penetrate one of the most fearsome walls around the paint the league’s seen in years.

What does that mean for Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and the Celtics?

It means that if they’re serious about winning banner 18 in the next half-decade, they need to figure out how to effectively attack this Heat team.

Given that Pat Riley has spent his money at the wings, and because he’s committed to contact-averse Chris Bosh at the PF (at least for now), Miami’s most vulnerable point will always be on the interior. A dominating defensive rebounding team, with Rajon Rondo at the point, stands to put up some points in transition, but that’s a dodgy recipe for consistent playoff success. You have to score in the half-court.

It’s unfortunate there’s not more effective post scoring out there. But a Marc Gasol-Zach Randolph style frontline would be one way for Boston to proceed — if they can find the horses (you should all feel free to bring up Al Jefferson in the comments). Another would be loading up on offensive rebounders and attempting to wear out Miami with second chance points, perhaps forcing them to send a perimeter guy to the boards, opening up something else for Rondo or the Celtics’ wings.

It’s tempting to suggest the Celtics just build the strongest team they can without concern for the composition of Miami’s roster. But it would be foolish to ignore the very real possibility that every Eastern Conference finals for the next five years will tip-off in Miami.

How do the Celtics get there and then how do they find ways to score against this Miami defense?

Those are the questions.

  • Batman

    Let's hope Danny gets us another Al Jefferson

    • janos

      hi Batman.. Did you notice Carl make many hit recently? Red Sox heating up buddy, are you scare?

  • steveb

    Unrelated note. Big Baby is going to be on Jimmy Kimmel before tonight’s game.

    • janos

      Right on! thanks Steve B! Janos

    • Jim

      Yea I watched him shoot just like he did in the playoffs, brick after brick!

  • Morpheus

    Hijacked from the other thread. RR, Ray, Pierce, KG, Dwight. That would be the sound of Miami kissing their crosses.

  • dalandan1

    System-wise, it's a post player that can score around the basket who can consistently score on Miami's D. Look at KG in Game 2 of BOS-MIA. Dirk is killing them right now. It's positions 4&5 with a strong interior presence that will ultimately be the answer.

    For Boston, it's not KG. KG is trying to preserve his body. D12 for one wouldn't come to Boston and if he did, his post game is still unrefined even if slightly improved.

    Z-Bo and Gasol down in Memphis seem to be the answer to Miami. If they can get out of the West, they pose a big match-up problem for the Heat. They have elite perimeter defenders and a strong inside presence. Rudy Gay-Shane Battier at 3 and Tony Allen at the 2?

    From the available free agents now, it seems like Yao Ming would be the answer. lol. Can someone donate a foot? Greg Oden should be his back-up. That way it's like Shaq/JO 2!

  • janos

    Hey Ryan, is Janos. There similar site as this call Heat Index where these dumbass talk heat heat heat. I been there. Can one of you web manager go to site and pose as fan then learn heat plan for next season,and then web manager talk celtic manager and ruin plan?

  • janos

    is gonna be a good battle all year my friend

  • lakershater13

    Batman… Calling you out here. Please explain how Lebron is not a choke artist. Game 4 which would have put the Heat up 3-1 and Lebron scores 8 points on 3-11 shooting and 2-4 from the ft line. Fourth quarter Lebron 2 turn overs and 1 assist. O points in fourth quarter. I can see him now in the post game…"look at my defense". One of the biggest games of his career and he gets 24 points from Bosh, 32 points from Wade, and he does nothing in the fourth quarter to help his team win.

    Lebron had 8 rebounds and 7 assists but with two other super stars those 7 assists is not that impressive.

  • I_Love_Green

    Batman how ya feelin bout those Yanks?

    • Batman

      Just mock me now…..once we get our shit together its over

  • I_Love_Green

    Lebron AKA the next Jordan scored 8 points tonight, 0 in the 4th, and let his team lose another big lead in a huge game for them.

    Good job Lefraud.

    • kricky

      LeFraud is right.

      I don't remember Jordan, Bird, Magic or any of the other greats (or even Kobe) having two subpar games like this in the NBA finals.

      The "one of the greatest ever" debates is officially closed. We can now conclude that Lebron isn't even as good as Kobe.

      • Batman

        Considering how Kobe had 4 straight bad games in the finals in 2004…….lets just ignore that

        • kricky

          Point taken Batman. Still I don't think Kobe was as ineffective in 2004 as Lebron has been in this series. Also he was going up against a truly great Pistons defense. The Mavs are pretty solid, but they only have one really elite defender in Chandler.

          The point I was trying to make is that BOTH Kobe and Lebron fall short of the Jordan, Bird, Magic, Olajuwan all-time great level and the we can pretty much close the discussion on this after this years' playoffs.

          • I_Love_Green

            They showed a stat on ESPN that was just awesome. Lebron had something like 9 points in all of the 4th quarters combined this series, and Dirk I think was in the 30s.

  • polish wonder

    With minimal salary cap available, would it be possible for the celtics to trade away core players with high salaries such as KG ot even Ray Allen, to take on. Some young talent, then have those players negotiate buy outs with those teams and resign for vet minimum deals with the Celtics??

    • Jay P

      If the league can prove it was a pre-arranged deal, then no, it's no possible. The team would be fined, and probably lose future draft picks.

      But technically, not what happened with Big Z last year when Cleveland got Jamison, yes, it is possible. He was bought out and returned to the Cavs on a rest of year contract, before the playoffs. But it's highly unlikely, given the money involved, any team would be wanting to deal for a player, just to buy him out and send him off.

      Technically, I guess if the team is really looking to save money, and the player agreed to a lesser buyout, then sure, it'd make some sense. But the whole thing is really tricky, and highly highly unlikely.

  • polish wonder

    as of right now i think they're team oriented and want to win another championship. if it means another ring to add to their lagacies, i think they'd go for it. Wouldn't a team do have cap relief to persue free agents in the off season??

  • Morpheus

    Anyone see that BS flopping act from Bron. It was a travesty. Is this what LeFraud has reduced himself to now.

    • lakershater13

      When Haywood backed up and lebron fell to the ground like a drunk after a night at the bar?

  • lakershater13

    Ok so Batman has Lebrons back because Lebron is also a Yankee fan. Makes sense. I can see why he would think lebron is not a choke artist when his baseball team has the biggest choke in baseball history. 3-0…eliminated.

    • Batman

      2004 never happened

      • Batman

        He did choke in Game 4 he had a horrible game I'm not denying that
        One bad game does not a choke artist make

  • Batman

    I like the Celtics because I started liking them when I was younger
    The Yankees are a regional thing for me since I live in New York

  • http://www.spartan300race.com/ Spartan300workout

    I go for HEAT! ! ! I know they can win this game.

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