True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: miami heat

The Thunder’s pick-and-roll defense vs. the Clippers

Pick-and-roll defense is always going to be a huge point of emphasis when you play the Clippers. The Clippers run pick-and-roll plays as much as any team in the league and with Chris Paul at the helm are pretty efficient in doing so.

The pick-and-roll when shots are taken from the ball handler or roll man account for around 40 percent of the Clippers’ offense this season. Basically not counting passes kicked out to spot-up jumpers or secondary cutters.

Against the Thunder last night the Clippers only got 15 percent of their offense from the pick-and-roll ball handler and roll man. That’s because the Thunder are pretty good on defense and usually force their opponent into more isolation plays than usual (the Clippers took 32 percent of their shots on isolation plays).

The problem is that the Clippers had success when they did shoot off the pick-and-roll and a lot of success. They made 12-of-14 shots in the pick-and-roll game last night including all six of their shots when the roll man shot.

The Thunder’s pick-and-roll defense hasn’t been great this year and last night was a perfect example of why.

Here’s a look at a few of the pick-and-roll plays from last night’s game.
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Dwyane Wade returns in 99-89 win for Miami over New York

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Miami Heat got 10 dunks from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in their win Friday night over the New York Knicks. The game was close for awhile due to good long range shooting by the Knicks who went 18-for-43 from three in the game.

The Heat pulled away in the end and looked at their best with LeBron and Wade working together and making highlights. LeBron had 31-7-8 in the game and Wade 28 points and five steals.

I wrote earlier this week how the Heat looked better overall with Wade out of the lineup and LeBron running the show. I still feel like that is true to some extent but when they both get going like they did Friday night it can be pretty impressive and demoralizing for an opponent.
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Heat, LeBron better without Wade?

nbcsports.msnbc.com

LeBron James led the Miami Heat last night to a 98-87 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. He did this without Dwyane Wade. The Heat and LeBron are now 4-0 this season when Wade is on the sideline.

Is it possible that this Miami Heat team could be better when Dwyane Wade does not play? I think so and I’ve pretty much felt this way all along about LeBron.

My biggest issue with LeBron choosing to play with Wade was that we would now not see the true individual potential of LeBron reached. Had he gone to New York or stayed in Cleveland we would have gotten an entire career of LeBron playing at his peak.

When he plays with Wade, we will never see this totally. We get glimpses from time to time and they can team up for some pretty spectacular plays but for the entire course of a game or season, we don’t see it.

Far too often when you watch Wade and LeBron play together, there are instances when LeBron is just standing in the corner or on the wing, out of the play completely as Wade is doing his thing. You never saw that in Cleveland (except when he started doing that in Game 6 vs. Boston and let Mo Williams go to work while he made sure to grab every rebound off missed free throws at the other end).
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Clips beat Heat in NBA’s first playoff game this season

I planned to watch every NBA game last night. I did, but only one ended up mattering. Heat at Clippers with a 10:30 tip, thank God by the second half no other game was on (because trust me, I would have been flicking back and forth between a Timberwolves game if one was on).

Last season was tough for Miami in a lot of ways. One way was that night in, night out, they got everyone’s best shot. The rest of the league had a grudge against Miami and wanted to prove they weren’t the league’s best yet without earning it.

That’s impossible to happen again this year with the condensed schedule (part of why I picked Miami to win 54 games). But last night, Miami was in their first playoff game of the regular season on the road and lost in overtime, 95-89 to the Lob City Clippers.

Both teams came into the game having played the night before and lost. Before the game began, here were the keys I was looking for:
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LeBron James’ improved post game

LeBron James has gotten off to one of the best starts to his career this season with the 6-1 Miami Heat. He has certainly looked like the best player in the league, as he should, treating teams like Charlotte, Minnesota and most recently Indiana like JV squads.

The more confidence LeBron plays with, the better he looks. This has always been the case. It’s the teams that are able to take away his confidence and comfortableness that have the best chance to beat him.

In recent years, LeBron has looked the least comfortable in the post. The critics have always pointed this out and pointed to this as one of the reasons Miami wasn’t successful at winning a championship last season.
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Rondo a better fit in OKC than Westbrook

After watching the first five games of the Thunder season, I’m starting to feel like Russell Westbrook is literally the worst player in the league. He’s definitely becoming one of the most destructive and as part of the Thunder faithful, I want him out now before it gets any worse.

The trade rumors I’ve heard involving Westbrook that are the most exciting would be swaps for Rajon Rondo or Stephen Curry. While Curry is one of my favorite players in the league and I would love to see this trade happen, I’d rather see Westbrook traded for Rondo and think it makes a lot of sense for both teams.

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Part 1: Best players in the NBA by position

I’ve always wanted to take the time and make a list of the best players in the NBA. Anyone who loves the NBA does this all the time and people are always debating who the best player in the league is. It’s a debate that will always go on because it is nearly impossible to compare players at different positions and tell which is more valuable (although everyone thinks it’s easy).

I’ve spent some time trying to come up with the best players by position. But there aren’t really five positions in basketball because there aren’t five different types of players. So I’ve come up with the most relevant positions (player types) that help a team win a title and ranked their importance and tried to come up with the most relevant/valuable players in the league when it comes to winning a championship.

First off, here are the positions and by importance:

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2011-2012 NBA Season Preview

Nothing compelled me to write more than the NBA Playoffs last season. And during the lockout and offseason, nothing interested me enough to write because nothing could compare to the NBA last season. I just wanted to get the lockout over and have a season. We’ll finally be getting that now Christmas Day and with the announcement that I will be receiving NBA League Pass as a Christmas gift, I feel the need to fire up this blog again. If ever a time then now, right?

I always wanted to do season preview articles and love thinking about this stuff so I’m going with predictions on win totals to start in the shortened 66-game season. I’ve done my research (listened to the NBA Today podcast and read Bill Simmons’ 12 Days of Christmas) and I’m ready to give it a shot.

Disclaimer: with the condensed season I expect a ton more injuries like last lockout. Also, there are some transactions that I’m sure will go down before the season starts still or right after it does. So in six months when everyone is Googleing me and reading this article, please don’t hate on me too much. Also I watched all of the NBA players’ lockout mixes on Hoopmixtape.com and will be weighing those tapes heavily when making these predictions.

Really, just pay attention to the order of teams and win totals to get the most out of this preview, what I write about each team is a lot of filler.

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Classic NBA Playbook – 1988 Michael Jordan vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Since the NBA finished up and there’s only been baseball, I haven’t felt the urge to write much. But I’m now living in a new apartment and finally have DVR and NBATV (a deadly combo for me and possibly my relationship). If there’s any other NBA blog out there that I’d like to model this one after, it is Sebastian Pruiti’s NBA Playbook.

He breaks down basketball in blog form as good as anyone out there and made this year’s playoffs a ton more interesting as if they weren’t already interesting enough. I plan to start a portion of this blog centering around a classic version of what Pruiti does. There might not be a season this year but I’m okay with that if NBATV keeps rerunning so many great games every day and NBA 2K12 is as good as it probably will be. Dedicating a portion of this blog to some classic NBA playbook breakdown seems like as good a way as any to spend my time.

Let’s start with…

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Forecasting the next decade of the NBA

Before the Finals started I did a little research looking at the past NBA champions and runner-ups. I basically came to the conclusion that the Dallas Mavericks could not beat the Miami Heat this year. The Heat’s big three were all in their primes and Dallas was simply older than any other team that won the title.

The only thing I could see that could explain Dallas winning the series in a historical context was that Dirk Nowitzki really was one of the greatest 15 or 20 players to ever play in the league and despite being in his 12th season was still in his prime and thus a worthy star to single-handedly lead this team to a title.

Now the Mavericks did win this series with great “team” basketball, as everyone likes to say, but at the end of the day when people look back at the record books and the teams that won it all, this Dallas team will stand out and be remembered for having one unbelievable star player.

When I looked back at all of the NBA champions since 1980, it was never surprising who won and why they did. Everything made sense. At the end of the day, you needed to have one of ten different players to even have a chance: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. And now Dirk is on that list. He and Moses are the only ones I put on that list who only won a single title. Dirk could have easily won two and Moses was a top 12 player of all-time and deserving. Read the rest of this entry »

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