Here are my reasons.
More Weapons – LeBron, Dwade and the timely return of Haslem.
Mike Miller – The amazing play of Miller is the most telling of all considering he is able to concentrate inspite of his newborn daughter being in the hospital (no one deserves to go through anything like that and I wish him and his daughter well). Yet personal situations like that always seem to draw the best out of players, who at this stage of the season look for inspiration from almost anything, be it a negatively written article in the press, their mom’s birthday, or occasionally, personal tragedy. I suspect it helps them gain perspective really, because it reminds them that there are bigger things in life than mere basketball games and so it frees them from the tension. Whatever it may be, it’s in full effect on Miller. And if he can contribute his usual good shooting and now reliable rebounding, you’ve got an extra guy contributing big time off the bench.
Bosh – Bosh is really either on or off, and at this point has only proven that Miami only has a ‘Big 2’ after all. I consider him only at the level of Haslem at this point, a reliable big who can contribute. His 20pt., 10reb. performance in Game 5 is nothing to sneeze at of course, but its nowhere near the superstar numbers we (helped along by the stupid and untimely Miami hype), were made to expect. And don’t tell me that’s because he’s playing in a system that allows others to shine. Chris Bosh is hyped like an All-Star, is paid like an All-Star and therefore should play like an All-Star. At this point however, no one is relying on him to be that All-Star. Rather, the Heat should just be happy he contributes. I think that’s sad but that’s where it is.
Heat System Of Coming Up Big In 4th Is Better Than Mavs’ – To be completely honest, I am not sold with the idea of ‘cruise along for 3 quarters then give it to your superstar in the 4th‘ basketball. It is primarily the reason for me why I do not believe the NBA is the best basketball in the planet. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I think FIBA basketball, or anywhere where they share the ball, where there is emphasis on finding the open man, is where true basketball is really played. The NBA has no doubt the best, most spectacular athletes and the best sports marketing known to man, resulting in very marketable, very profitable and worthwhile entertainment. But the best basketball? Please. Watch the Euros play. Those guys know ball.
Coming back to my point, the NBA brand of basketball, with no zone, promotes the ‘4th quarter man’ type of individual play. This is the system employed by both the Mavericks and the Heat, where they play team ball (or at least some of it) for 3 quarters, then when crunchtime comes, give it to LeBron / Nowitzki, and he will take over.
It makes for spectacular sports viewing, mind you. Non-basketball savvy fans, which is the majority, do not want to see plays. They want to see speed, they want to see their fave player performing some amazing move, making their defender look stupid and ending in a rim – rattling dunk. They want something to cheer, howl and scream at, and this is what LeBron and Dirk provide.
Now, between the two similar systems, I think the Heat provide better support for LeBron than the Mavs do for their Dirk. Dirk seems to need to dribble with his back to the basket a few times before setting up for his shot. He does this to draw a double team so Kidd, Terry or Stojakovic can park their butts on the 3pt line waiting for a pass. I think the Heat’s guards can hustle fast enough to stop this. I also think Dirk’s 2 or 3 dribbles is very tiring on him, and Bosh / Haslem / Anthony can at least give him a harder time than how OKC’s Collison did it on the one – on – one.
On the other hand, I like LeBron’s high pick and roll 4th quarter time far better. With this, he can move to his right for one of his ‘James Train’ drives to the basket, and we’ve all seen 3 guys try to wrap themselves around him only to be dunked themselves into the rim as well. If he’s forced left, he is just as willing to unleash a jumpshot on you, and it has proven just as deadly.
The Heat is a Pat Riley Team – Further to above, no one knows more about the 4th quarter man system than Riley, who would run his 80’s Lakers team that way. The Lakers, when push came to shove, would send Kareem to provide the finishing touches at the end. Everyone knew it was coming. The opposing team, the teammates, and especially the fans. The excitement would rise to incredible heights and burst in a crescendo of sky – hook glory when the big man does his job.
When I look at LeBron, I know that same system is at play. The guy is unstoppable, and everyone knows it. It’s just a matter of time, and opponents are faced with a choice of whether he’ll burn you with a jumper or dunk on your head. Sure Nowitzki is the same, but it doesn’t have the same kind of fluidity, that feeling of inevitability, the way James does it. And I just like how the Heat executes it better, that’s all. Ok I’ll admit it, I just don’t like the idea of guards waiting at the 3pt line waiting for a pass. I want an active offense predicated on movement and passing the ball. Not one guy doing his thing while everyone sits eating tacos at the parking lot. Basketball’s just not like that for me.
So there it is, I’m thinking Heat in 5. Let’s see how this goes.