Miami Heat: Rating the Debut of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh
Miami Heat, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh are poised and ready to start their season. Now we can finally exhale and welcome the 2010-2011 season.
The Miami Heat and LeBron James are quite possibly the biggest off-season news the NBA has had in quite a while. With so many question marks going into this season, the first game is a good measure of how this team will produce for the entire season.
As the game starts, it is plainly clear that both teams are pressing a little. Shots are off and assignments are being missed on defense. Let’s see how this all plays out and put a grade to each player on the Miami Heat.
Both teams started a bit rusty. Except for LeBron James, the Heat were struggling to find offense early. With Joel Anthony down low, Shaquille O’Neal was allowed to look much younger than he is. The Celtics pounded the Heat down low in the first and to start the third. Their greatest weakness was exploited often.
The second quarter was our first look at the Heat without LeBron James. It was not pretty. The lack of depth down low was highlighted immediately. James brings a versatility to drive and dish. Without him in the game, the Celtics were able to defend straight up. There was no need to come off and help defend a slasher.
With Bosh out, there was no viable scorer inside. The Heat were relegated to chucking up shots or being defended well inside. There was no viable option to score.
While the bench added little to the offense. Where they really let up was on their defensive effort. The Celtics were rewarded with too many easy buckets.
Coach: Erik Spoelstra
When you have nothing reliable on the bench. You can't really knock the coach for their lack of production. The best thing Erik Spoelstra did all day was to keep LeBron James on the floor for 42 minutes.
I also liked that he rested Dwayne Wade for a portion of the game. What we need to understand is this is only one game and it was evident that Dwayne Wade was not right. The Heat lost because of the lack of production of the Heat's role players, not because of Spoelstra.
I do however knock him for limiting the minutes of Carlos Arroyo. It was clear that James Jones and Eddie House were not lighting it up.
Joel Anthony did little to help his team today. His play early in the game was the main reason he had limited minutes. The Heat are much better with Zydrunas Ilgauskas at center.
Anthony is one of the quicker centers around. In this game, he used that to get to some long range rebounds.
Joel Anthony plays too far from the basket to get any sort of rebound or to change any of the Celtics inside shots. He was the main reason the Celtics were able to score so readily inside.
What shooting? Joel Anthony is a liability on offense and the Celtics knew this.
Overall Grade: D
We knew it would be bad. So, no surprise there. He actually rebounded so hugs all around.
Arroyo played only 12 minutes and I don't know why. House and Jones were just as bad as he was starting out. They Heat need a guard and he might have to be it. I would have liked to see him get 20 minutes or so.
Arroyo was a bit better to the ball than Eddie House or James Jones were. Another reason I was surprised he was benched.
He looked like he was ready and willing to take on Rajon Rondo. I liked the aggression he started the game with.
Carlos struggled early. He never had a chance to redeem himself.
Overall Grade: B-
The one thing Haslem did well tonight was run without the ball and set picks. He did the little things that freed up LeBron to drive
Like the rest of his team, Haslem looked sluggish and confused.
Haslem added a bit of depth to a depleted front court. He was one of the soul rebounders for the Heat early. His defense was unacceptable though. The Celtics ran around him for too many easy buckets. He needs to impose himself down there. Change a shot, make Boston know you are there.
He needs to put in some of his chip shots. The Heat missed to many easy buckets. A good portion of these were from Haslem.
Overall Grade: C-
Anytime he was in the game, he was doing his own thing. He rarely came of the ball to help and lent no help to James in the assist department.
Eddie House was running the lanes with passion early on but his defense was where I have issue. Granted he had a steal in the first half but he was slow to get to his defensive assignments all game.
I saw no signs of him making Celtics think twice about his presence. He was late to the ball all day. I guess I could give him a pass because the rest of the Heat were as well.
Eddie House started a bit sluggishly. He had wide open chances that he missed and then would hit well guarded shots. He had me befuddled. He and LeBron were the main reason for a hot end to the third quarter. But that was about it for his highlight reel.
Overall Grade: C+
When he and James were in the game, you could see that they have played together for some time. Z knew exactly were to be.
Ilgauskas was never the quickest. But you could see he has lost whatever steps he had. He was constantly slow to defend and rebound. His foul trouble had everything to do with him getting into poor position.
Again, his defense was bad. But it was not for lack of trying. Multiple times he fought across screens to defend a wide open jumper. May times it was not even his guy to defend. Ilgauskas was one Heat that left it out on the floor tonight.
I don't think you are I thought they would be getting points from big Z. Maybe he should have shot just once though.
Overall Grade: C+
James Jones showed no knowledge of any game plan. He was all over the place. Jones rarely set a pick and was no where to help on defense.
Every time his assignment went up for a jumper, he was two seconds late. The Celtics big three had all day to shoot from 20 feet out. Jumper after jumper fell in the face of James Jones.
He never fought through screens, he waltzed around them.
James Jones was missing shots all game. What made it more excruciating was that most of them were wide open, including one in the fourth quarter that would have helped bring the Heat within eight.
Overall Grade: D
James Jones was the first off the bench. He immediately missed an assignment on a Ray Allen jumper. Then he missed two wide open 3-pointers. The Heat were missing Mike Miller early on.
He is supposed to be part of the big three in Miami. He played like just another player.
Slow to defend, lethagic on defense, no, I guess you can say Chris Bosh has had better games.
For a good portion of the game, I forgot that Bosh was even out there. Hustle plays, blocks, rebounds for the most part Bosh was in none of these situations.
Chris Bosh struggled with his jumper all night. What makes the Heat effective is when slashers like Wade and James can dish to guys standing 20 feet away for an open jumper. Bosh had multiple looks from 15-20 feet and seemed to clank them all.
Overall Grade: D
He tried to get guys involved. It was clear that Wade was not right in the body to do so.
His hamstring, or the layoff because of it, greatly diminished his ability to drive. He did have a couple of layups late. By that time the Celtics were just playing horrible defense.
He did show heart by trying to will his team back in this one. The closer we have all come to know and love just was not there in the end.
I just saw Wade clank a ball of the backboard from the wing. He was not ready to play. The time he had off in the preseason helped him none.
Overall Grade: C+
It looked like a rusty Wade out there. He was 0-4 to start the game and was missing explosiveness while driving.
At some points, it looked like LeBron was trying to do much. I will give him a pass as for a good portion of the game, his crisp passes lead to his teammates throwing up bricks.
Awesome. James is simply amazing in the open floor. He caused multiple blocking fouls by the Celtics simply because he is too quick to officiate. Also NBA officiating is trash.
LeBron James showed yet again that he is not afraid to drive and get a charge. His frequent slashes to the basket was the only thing the Celtics could not account for.
His mediocre shooting looked absolutely magical compared to the junk the rest of the Heat were shooting in the first half. He made some big shots. He just needed over 20 shots to get them.
Overall Grade: B+
In the first quarter, LeBron James was the Heat’s only weapon. Too bad he was not remarkable. Like the rest of his cast, he looked a little rusty especially with his passes. I should note that he was the one player imposing some sort of aggressiveness. He was all over the floor tipping passes and playing the lanes.
Did not Play:
Mike Miller (injured)
The Heat looked confused early. We knew they would have issues down low and that is exactly what the Celtics fed on.
The main issue I see is their defense which was abyssmal.