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Can Miami Heat Go All the Way If 3-Pointers Aren't Falling?

Mar 4, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Heat defeated the Timberwolves 97-81. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIApril 8, 2013

The short answer to that question is yes, because they have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on their roster. 

The long answer is much more in depth, and that's what we'll be tackling here.

With a season average of 39.7 percent from beyond the arc, the Heat are the second-best three-point shooting team in the NBA.

To say that they live or die by the three-ball is an overstatement, because they are a much more multifaceted team than that. But three-point shooting is a major part of their offensive scheme.

LeBron and Wade can certainly dominate in isolation with their strong mid-range games and ability to get to the rim.

Getting to the rim is a whole lot easier, though, when the paint isn't clogged up by bodies bringing help-side defense in the interior.

That is where three-point shooting comes in.

When guys like Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Mike Miller and even Mario Chalmers are knocking down three-pointers, defenders can't simply keep their defense fixated on LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh.

They are forced to defend the perimeter of the court, and that makes the Heat nearly impossible to beat.

Battier and Allen lead the Heat in three-point attempts per game with 4.4 and 4.1, respectively.

Even though Miller is an integral part of the Heat's deep, second-unit rotation, the guys who really matter coming off the bench are Battier and Allen.

They are the two players who are consistently able to stretch defenses, find open space when LeBron and Wade penetrate, and ultimately knock down timely three-pointers.

Aside from spreading defenses, three-pointers are also a way that Miami gains and maintains momentum.

While that's true for every team in the NBA, it certainly rings true for the Heat in a massive way.

When LeBron isn't flying to the rim and finishing with serious force or finesse, he's driving and dishing it to an open teammate beyond the arc.

When players knock down those big shots, momentum shifts in the Heat's favor. And for a team that can be streaky at times, that's very important. 

A big part of the Heat's offensive set is ball movement, and it's complimented rather beautifully by the way guys like Allen, Battier and Miller find open space to knock down jumpers.

It's not luck that the Heat are the league's second-best three-point shooting team. It's because they have intelligent players who understand the game and understand how to maximize their abilities out on the hardwood. 

So can the Heat win games if they never make a three-pointer again? They sure can, because they have the talent in LeBron, Wade and Bosh to get the job done.

Will their path to another NBA title be a lot easier if they can stay hot from beyond the arc?

Absolutely, because teams can't handle the star power of LeBron and Wade getting into the paint and defending the perimeter at the same time. 

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