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Miami is not a run-and-gun offense and anyone who believes this is sadly mistaken. Thank goodness coaches are paid millions of dollars to watch tape and figure out their opponents’ weaknesses, because if they just paid attention to highlights, we might as well hand Miami the 2012 NBA championship trophy right now.
The Heat started off the season so successfully because of the fact that they were not operating primarily off of their speed and athleticism in transition. Miami was one of the league’s most efficient franchises in half-court offense, as both James and Wade stopped popping up jumpers and lobbing dunks in transition and started playing smarter.
They became more calculating and took their time on their way into the paint instead of forcing the issue.
Take Wade for instance. He knows that the Heat have the ability to beat out any team in a foot race. Instead of pushing the pace and risking lost points, he would pull up in transition and evaluate the defense the opposition is running.
Wade, as one of the best cutters in the NBA, is immensely skilled at penetrating defenses and making an acrobatic finish around the rim. Clogged lanes are not an issue for him, nor for James, as both have solid mid-range strokes.
For teams to have a true chance at halting Miami’s championship dreams, they will need to operate well in half-court defense. Defensive rotations will be entirely key for defeating the Miami Heat in a seven-game series, especially.
Use Miami’s strength against them. Their help defense is probably the most fearful in the league as it can occasionally feel as if there are more than the regulation amount of players on the floor. They switch over so quickly that the pressure has a stranglehold on the opponent's offense.
Given enough time, Miami forces horrible toss-ups. Therefore, opponents can do the same to Miami.
The Heat operate primarily well in half-court offense, so defensive rotations that meet Miami players on a baseline drive around the rim for a game-defining block are going to be vital. Players will have to pay attention to their personal defensive assignments as well as recognizing when a teammate is being outplayed.
Miami often creates mismatches in the low post and in their mid-range game, so any franchise hoping to knock them out of contention will have to not only cover their own men but watch and anticipate when another player is going to be beat out.