Fact vs. Fiction from Miami Heat's NBA Playoff Performance so Far
Miami is rebounding the ball well, but now turning the ball over. Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen have struggled from beyond the arc, but Norris Cole can't miss.
So, let's play a little game of fact or fiction with these mentioned seemingly surprising elements of Miami's postseason, and others, and determine if these trends will continue.
Fiction: Norris Cole's Great Play Is a Fluke
Putting it kindly, Norris Cole struggled offensively throughout his rookie year and for the first half of this season.
So to see him score 11.0 points per game on 69.0 percent shooting from the field and 81.8 percent shooting on three-pointers was shocking to many.
While, yes, those percentages are absurd, the fact that Cole was stroking it from beyond the arc shouldn't have been surprising. Cole quietly spent the second half of the season turning into a huge shooting asset for Miami.
In March and April, Cole shot 50.0 percent and 47.6 percent, respectively, on three-point attempts.
To go along with his stifling on-ball defense, simply put, Cole is now a very good shooter.
He won't maintain his 68.8 percent shooting from outside, but he will be an efficient long-range shooter the rest of the way.
Fiction: Dwyane Wade's Struggles Will Continue
His right knee has been bothering him for months, so it's not like he's just going to magically heal in the playoffs.
But throughout his career, Wade has played with injuries and eventually had success. In the 2012 playoffs, Wade scored five points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, as he was dealing with a left knee issue then.
Wade would come back, though, and score 99 points in the final three games of the series.
We've already seen a bit of Wade's resurgence. In Game 5 against the Chicago Bulls, he had an excellent fourth quarter and played a pivotal role in the closing of the game for Miami.
Fact: The Heat Will Continue Rebounding the Ball Well
The small-ball Heat finished the regular season with the fewest rebounds per game in the entire league. But Miami has turned things around on the glass in the postseason.
Through the first two rounds, the Heat have the third-best rebounding differential. And this success isn't a fluke.
It's not as if Miami faced poor rebounding teams in the first two rounds: The Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls both finished the regular season as elite teams on the glass.
The Heat also experienced something very similar last year. Miami struggled to rebound the ball in the regular season but finished with a positive differential come postseason time.
The Heat have another gear they go to in the playoffs, and that shows in their rebounding ability.
Fiction: The Heat's Turnover Woes Will Continue
Miami was one of the best teams in the regular season in the area of avoiding turnovers. The Heat turned the ball over just 13.3 times per game.
But that number has jumped to 14.8 in the postseason, which ranks 10th among the 16 playoff teams.
As the statistics suggest, the Heat have gotten sloppy with the ball. This is likely due to the lack of competition they've faced in the first two rounds, as it hasn't hindered their ability to win.
The Heat will make not turning the ball over a priority after the first two rounds, and that will show in their play going forward.
Fact: The Heat Need Their Slumping Shooters to Step Up
The Heat have seen a few role players pick up their game in the playoffs, notably Cole and Chris Andersen.
But a couple of other Miami role players, specifically the shooters, have had some troubles this postseason.
Chalmers and Battier, who both shot north of 40 percent on outside shots in the regular season, are each shooting well below 30 percent on such shots in the postseason.
While Allen's shot was working in Round 1, he shot 23.5 percent from beyond the arc in Round 2.
These struggles don't become a real issue for Miami when it's facing teams like the Bucks and Bulls. But as Miami advances and the competition gets tougher, it's going to become much more difficult for the Heat to overcome these shooting problems.
As mentioned, though, these guys all have track records of being strong shooters, so it's likely these issues can be solved.