Monday, May 16, 2011

Things I Saw

Damn, Bulls took it to the Heat. This is going to be an interesting series. We all know Spoelstra's a biscuit, but I'm sure Pat Riley will give him the gameplan for game 2. If Miami makes the right adjustments, this is going to be fun. The Bulls are winning with discipline and spacing. This post is mainly about what the Heat can do in Game 2 because they played stupid basketball and it pisses me off. The Bulls are winning as a team, but I think if the Heat play smart and utilize their advantages, they can win. Here's what I saw:

1) The Bulls Defense is moving as a unit. These guys play man-to-man, but it almost looks like a zone. Whoever the defender in the corner is, whether it's Korver, Brewer, or Deng, they are helping on penetration and forcing the ball out of Bron/Wade's hands. When Bron/Wade drive, they're running into Noah or Boozer in the middle and then the corner defender. It's like a triangle following them.

2) Bulls Adjustment - In the 2nd half, the Bulls best adjustment was that the on-ball defender played slightly off. They didn't go for shot fakes like they did in the first half and dared the Heat to shoot. If Bron/Wade drove, then they ran into the triangle.

3) Taj Gibson/Joakim Noah - these guys are taking away the Heat pick-n-roll. It's hard to believe, but the Bulls gameplan is to SWITCH the pick-n-rolls and they're ok with sticking their big men on Wade/Bron cause they can stay with them.

4) Heat Not Closing Out - while the Bulls play airtight-D, the Heat aren't even closing out on 3's. I understand Bibby/Chalmers giving Rose space to shoot 3's because you'll take that. If Derek Rose wants to chuck 3's that's great, if he makes them, you live with it. But Luol Deng should not be getting a free pass on the 3point line. You HAVE to step up and make him drive, then you have to know your rotations. The Heat are not coached well at all, the big men don't know their rotations. I know Jamaal Magliore hasn't played much, but dude, you've played 90 games already, you should fucking know your rotation responsibilities.

5) Bron Needs to Attack - Once you let the Bulls defense set up, you've lost. It's almost like playing a zone because they move as a unit defensively. Their strength is help defense. Bron is getting the ball early in the clock, but he's surveying too much. You're not going to out smart the Bulls D, your advantage is athleticism, so, get the ball early in the clock and attack the defense before it's set. Even on made buckets, get down the floor and attack the defense. Bron likes to take what the defense gives him and pass the ball. You'll see all the time, Bron is very cerebral, he reads the defense, threads the needle and gets Bosh a bucket, but that's what Chicago wants him to do. He needs to sometimes force the defense to stop him, even if Gibson blocks his shot. It's almost like he stopped going to the bucket after being blocked. He needs to try and overpower that defense. He's a great player, he can do it.

6) In the Half-Court - Bron plays the two-man game with Bosh better than Wade. So, Wade should be the one coming off screens and pulling up for 13 to 18 footers. The rest of the Heat just aren't very good players, Wade needs to be more selfish and shoot off the screens. Once the defense adjusts and tries to trap him off screens, that's when things will open up below. When Bosh gets the ball at the elbows, Wade needs to cut hard off the wing or from the corner.

7) Play Mike Miller and James Jones - Look, Miller has been cold for a while, but this is the playoffs. You see people come out of nowhere all the time and surpass their season averages because the playoffs are about match-ups. Barkley was saying they should play Chalmers more to speed up the offense, but I disagree. The Heat aren't getting transition buckets from the point guard pushing the ball a la 2005 nash or chris paul today. They are getting buckets from outlet passes to Wade/Bron or from turnovers. Play Mike Miller and James Jones because then you have a chance of making Chicago pay off their help. You have to force their defenders to play alone. They beat you as a team so the goal is to make them play like individuals. If Miller and Jones can make Deng, Gibson, or Noah stay at home and drag them out of the paint, then things open up for Bron and Wade driving to the bucket. AND, if you replace the point guards with wing players, you're not going small! You're going big and also getting better shooters on the floor. Play a little triangle style ball like the Lakers.

8) Play Less Chalmers/Bibby - You're playing into the Chicago defense every time one of these guys touches the ball. Chalmers/Bibby both turn the ball over too much and they are easy to close out on because they're short. With Miller/Jones, even if you do close out, they can get their shots off. The ball should be in Bron's hand or in Wade's off screens and in iso's. Surround them with shooters so that you can space the floor and eliminate Chicago's help defense. Chalmers/Bibby can not beat anyone one-on-one, they aren't getting the Heat into the offense, and they aren't knock down shooters.

9) Play Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony more - don't even let magliore off the bench. Rebounds are hitting this guy in the hands and he's letting them go. Anthony was getting killed on the boards today too, but at least he worked and blocked shots. Spoelstra's worst decision was sitting Anthony for an extended period. One of these two should be on the floor at all times.

10) Ideal line-up for Heat

PG: James
SG: Wade
SF: Jones then Miller
PF: Bosh then Haslem
C: Anthony/Haslem/Illgauskas (when healthy)

Sub wise...

When Wade sits, Bron, Jones, Miller, Bosh, Anthony
When Bron sits, Bibby, Wade, Miller, Haslem, Illgauskas - with this line-up, bibby brings up the ball, wade comes off screens so you surround him with big guys who set good screens and can roll for 15-footers. You also buy Bosh minutes here. I think you play Bosh with Lebron more cause they can play pick-n-roll, then Wade can get offense himself off screens. Why Bibby over Chalmers? Because Bibby plays more under control and is the better passer. Chalmers is shooting better, but he isn't patient enough in the half-court. The Bulls play great initial defense, but you have to wait for your stars to get open. Chalmers freestyling or going one-on-one is never a good look. At least Bibby knows to sit on his thumbs and wait to pass.

People gotta realize, Bron prefers to facilitate. He plays smart basketball and doesn't necessarily like to over power defenses even though he can and should more often. Let him play 2 man game with Bosh. Wade is better attacking, coming off screens, and turns the ball over too much when playing the point. Bron also has the better 3-point shot between the two.

11) Put Bron in the Post - If you play Miller/Jones with Bron, you can play inside out. Bron can post his man down low and kick to the shooters. If they stick a big man on bron in the post, he can quickly reverse pivot and face up. There isn't going to be anything easy against the Bulls. The Heat need to call plays, read matchups, and stick to the gameplan. They freestyle way too much.

12) Offense is the Best Defense - look, the Bulls are going to kill the Heat on the glass no matter what, but if you are getting buckets on offense, it let's your defense set up. I don't think there is a solution to the boards. The Bulls are going to have that advantage unless Bosh/Haslem/Anthony play out of their face. I do think playing Jones/Miller/Haslem/Anthony will help. None are great on the glass, but they'll at least get a couple more than Bibby/Chalmers. I DO NOT think the solution is to have Bron/Wade crash. If the Heat are going to win, they need to be on the break. The rest of the Heat players are simply going to have to work harder and get it done on the glass, especially Bosh. Has he ever been a force on the boards? No, but if there was ever a time to step up, it's now.

13) As for the Bulls, don't change a thing. Keep playing D as a unit, let D-Rose initiate, and if you get an open shot on the wing, take it. The Heat are going to adjust, there's going to be more help on Rose. I also doubt Deng goes en fuego again. If the Heat start closing out on Deng, then he's going to need to shot-fake/drive or dump it down low to Boozer/Noah/Gibson. They didn't even really need Boozer tonight so he should get more looks game 2. Korver also stepped up and played well, he'll be a good source of offense if needed. Gibson can also face up Bosh or get his 15-footer whenever he wants it because the Heat will be swarming Rose. They are playing sick team basketball and every one knows their spot on the floor. The Heat need that identity cause right now, they have no gameplan.