The Blazers’ win in
The nice thing is, this is really a no-lose contest for
On to the matchup…
A Look at the Heat
27.1 pts, 48% shooting (from a guard), 7.6 assists, 5.9 rebounds, 2.9 steals, 1.9 blocks per game.
Ouch. If he were any nastier this game would have to include a black “Censored” bar over his play. This is a problem.
Wade’s supporting cast is still finding its footing. Rookie Michael Beasley is showing offensive chops already, scoring 17 a game. He’s shooting under 44%, however, which is low even for a new-era power forward. Shawn Marion is doing even worse, scoring 10.4 per game, barely clearing 41%. (This from a career 48% shooter.)
One thing none of
After the headliners,
The most striking ingredient to
The Heat shoot well and defend fairly well overall. They are not a good rebounding team. They shoot a lot of free throws but they also commit a lot of fouls. Predictably Wade is a free-throw generating machine. You have to be careful not to foul out all of your shooting guards and half of your help-ready interior players trying to stop his drives.
For all of you stat hounds out there, Zach sends this link from 82games.com which shows that the Heat are running a negative PER at every position so far this year, including shooting guard. (As pointed out in the comments, this was last year's PER. My fault for not looking more carefully.)
Keys to the Game
1. The key to beating
2. They’re going to turn you over so you need to get back and prevent those turnovers from turning into easy points. Also you’re a leg up if you can also force turnovers from them. Relative points off of turnovers should be a big stat in this game.
3. The Blazers can outrebound this team so they should.
4. Bench…domination. Call the blitz when the second units are in. All-out, guns blazing, go-go-go! If Greg Oden plays off of
5. Speaking of, if Big Greg does play, did you hear me talk about a real center much for
6. With just a couple exceptions try to force the Heat outside. You could get away with some zone tonight.
7. Last but not least, please get back in transition. I can’t think of a better way to make Shawn Marion feel good about himself again than to let him run free.
Storylines to Watch
1. Do Roy and Oden Play?
2. Who Guards Wade?
Even if he plays,
3. Who Handles the Ball for
The Blazers have been experimenting with different people bringing it up the court. With defenders like Wade and Chalmers that could backfire. Watch to see what the
4. Interior Dominance vs. Super Wings
5. Will the Blazers Step Up?
Young teams sometimes win without knowing why they won. A sure sign of that is them coming out the next game like they’ve never seen this strange, orange orb. What is it? Bask-eet-bawl? The Blazers have a chance to define themselves as a step beyond just a young team tonight.
This matchup is plenty groovy, not just because of the chance to see
Check out the Heat point of view at PeninsulaIsMightier.com.
Don’t forget the game starts at 5:00 Pacific and will be televised on ESPN.