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Game 19 Preview: Heat vs. Blazers

I hope you have your tickets, because for one night only Walking With Dinosaurs: The Live Experience comes to the Rose Garden in a gargantuan display of prehistoric...oh wait, it's just the Miami Heat.  My bad.

A Look at the Heat

Oh, this gives me a headache.  They're 4-13 on the season.  Part of this can be attributed to a brutal schedule (Detroit, San Antonio, Phoenix, Orlando, Denver, Utah, and Boston TWICE so far) but much of it is because they're just brutal.  They've topped 100 only three times, two of those being 101 point losses to the Jazz and Suns.  Dwyane Wade spent the first part of the season on IR and since returning has shot about 40 points below his career average and scored 4 points a game less than he's used to.  His three-point and free throw shooting are just unspeakable, though he's still drawing more fouls than most starting fives in the league.  Shaq is averaging 15.4 points a game, which used to be a decent quarter for him.  He's not drawing any fouls.  Shaq is reportedly complaining that the offense runs away from him late in the game.  Just a guess, but maybe it's that 50% free throw shooting percentage that you never took care of?  Shaq has always been an athletic-based player.  Take away his massive physical advantage and his 007-like license to foul and you have a fairly normal player, which is definitely not what the Heat need.  The rest of the team is underachieving also.  Only Udonis Haslem is performing anywhere near his expectations.  Ricky Davis scores a little, but he's basically a joke.  Jason Williams, Penny Hardaway, Smush Parker, and Mark Blount have basically been non-factors.  Without the stars making everyone look better this team is plenty ugly.  And did I mention old?  Oh yeah, I did.

The Heat rely on a plodding offense that runs through the hands of their main guys.  Unless it's a stellar night for their stars they're really stuck figuring out where to get consistent scoring.  And as you might imagine for a team that features an aging Shaq, and injured Wade, and perfectly healthy versions of Davis, Williams, Hardaway, and Blount defense is a large issue, particularly on the perimeter.  If you beat Miami's rotation you're going to get nearly any shot you want.  Oh, and don't look at their team stat line if you have a delicate stomach,  You'll see things like averaging 38.5 rebounds per game and losing the spread by 3.5, averaging under 19 assists, nearly the fewest field goal attempts in the league, a 67% team free-throw shooting percentage, and the team averaging less than 90 points.  Really folks, it's uglier than Regis Philbin on a stripper's pole.

What I'd Like to See

  1.  Listen to me:  RUN.  Run like the wind!  You move the ball and move your feet this team will not keep up.  They never score above 100 and they will let you do so.  They cannot rebound so all you have to do is snag the ball and GO!
  2.  Did I mention we should RUN?
  3.  I think we ought to RUN.
  4.  Dwyane Wade may be a problem for us and it's easy to imagine him having a breakout night.  Even if we concede that though if we stay in front of everybody else they probably won't have enough made shots to beat us.
  5.  If we get stuck in the halfcourt the penetrate-and-dish schtick we worked the other night should be even more effective against Miami than it was against Memphis.  There's no way they get out to cover the perimeter.  Martell, James Jones, everybody tee off and fire away.  All you have to be able to do is hit an open jumper.
  6.  By the way, it won't matter how our halfcourt offense goes if we just RUN!
--Dave (

P.S. I'm going to add one more now that I'm thinking about it.

7. Joel has got to keep in front of Shaq while keeping his butt out of foul trouble. If he spends half the game on the pines we still could have real trouble dealing with the Big Geriatric.