Eye of the Hurricane

April 27, 2011

Heat have plenty to work on heading into series with Celtics

Filed under: NBA — davidfurones @ 9:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

With a 97-91 victory against the 76ers Wednesday night in Miami, the Heat finished off the pesky Sixers four games to one and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they will face the experienced and playoff-savvy Boston Celtics.

Miami’s pure talent was enough to get them passed the Sixers, but they’re going to need to show much more hustle, determination, and outright desire if they plan on being as successful against the Celtics.

Throughout their first round series, we saw far too often that the Heat had their minds more set on looking flashy and winning with flair, style and ease. Against Boston, they’re going to have to change that attitude. In a seven game series against the Celtics, you have to match their intensity, their scrappiness, and their bully state of mind.

The Heat was drastically outscored in points in the paint in Game 5. Although they turned on that interior defense late in the game, as Joel Anthony contributed with a few key blocks, it took them quite a while to get that figured out. Philly was a jump shooting team for most of the series, and Miami was getting dominated inside during various stretches.

They need to display greater toughness near the basket on both sides of the ball. On the offensive end, a team that throughout the year was able to reach the free throw line at will was settling for perimeter jump shots. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh combined to shoot 11 three pointers.

In their defense, the referees were extremely inconsistent in how much contact they would allow players to get away with. There were several plays where Heat players, specifically their stars, felt they got fouled and let it be known to the officials.

But that’s another thing. Just play the game!

On one play in the third, LeBron thought he was fouled on a fastbreak and missed a layup. The teams sprinted down to the other side of the court off the miss while James stayed behind pleading his case to the ref and leaving his team to defend five-on-four for a series.

With about a minute remaining in the game, Dwyane Wade, on a play where he missed but Bosh rebounded and was fouled, received a technical foul for arguing on the shot he took.

Earth to Dwyane: your teammate was fouled and will get two free throws. It’s a positive play for your team. Albeit, the technical did not ultimately decide the game, but against a good team in a close game, every point given away is pivotal.

Both discipline and hustle are lacking, and I have not seen it from this team since that regular season series finale against Boston when they dominated the Celtics at home.

I have never seen this team move around defensively with such determination and gusto the way they did that afternoon.

Watching this game, I can almost say I was secretly rooting for the series to go seven so Udonis Haslem can buy himself some time to get back and any sense of hustle can be restored on the floor for this team.

And then there’s the shot selection… well, I’ll save that for another rant.

One thing’s for sure. It’ll be extremely interesting when the Celtics and Heat get their series started Sunday at the American Airlines Arena.

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