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The Heat have three offensive weapons, not five. As an opponent, you know where their offense will be coming from and your goal has to be to disrupt their flow. If any one of those three get going early, you can expect a 30+ point outing from them.
If two or more of them get going, you can count on 20+ points from each of them. So, the goal is to get them off to a slow start and continue to harass them the entire 48 minutes. This is easier said than done, but there is a strategy to this.
First, you have to contest the 15-foot Bosh jumper early. Of the Big Three, Bosh is the easiest to disrupt. If you can contest his first four or five shots and get him off to a rough start, he will disappear offensively. Many teams overload on Wade and LeBron early and let Bosh get in a rhythm, and that is a major problem.
Second, deny the lane. The Heat average more than 24 free-throw attempts per game and nothing provides them with momentum than Wade or James driving acrobatically to the rim, getting lightly bumped and going to the free throw line for an "and-1." If you can deny the lane and force Wade and LeBron to be jump shooters, you have a much better chance of getting them out of rhythm.
Here are some more ways to do it:
- Denying the lane starts with your perimeter players working hard to deny entry into the lane. If they move their feet and play smart, they may be able to draw charges as Wade or James starts to drive.
- Next, your help defenders need to be ready to come over and stop a drive at the expense of leaving an outside shooter open because the Heat only shoot .363 percent from three-point range.
- Finally, your frontcourt needs to be willing and ready to foul hard to deny easy baskets and force Wade and LeBron to earn their points at the line.
The Heat's offense is constantly evolving from game to game and throughout each. The best defensive game plan is to evolve along with them and not get stuck in one defensive scheme because the Heat are too good to be contained for 48 minutes without defensive adaptation.