Home Unfiltered Articles Players Baseball Prospectus
Basketball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Click here for Important Basketball Prospectus Premium Information!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Spurs (06/04)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/03)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/05)
Next Article >>
Ranking the Unranked (06/05)

June 4, 2012
Playoff Prospectus
Four-on-Four

by Dan Feldman

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

at Boston 93, Miami 91 (Series tied, 2-2)
Pace: 86.2
Offensive Ratings: Boston 109.4, Miami 104.1

Miss, offensive foul, miss, miss, make, split free throws, miss, make, miss, miss, offensive foul, miss, miss, miss, miss, split free throws, miss.

That, in all its ugliness, was overtime. Boston 4, Miami 2.

The Celtics and Heat combined for a great four quarters and at one point had me questioning, Has the level of play in these conference finals been high enough for the eventual NBA champion not to face scrutiny for winning in a down, lockout season? If the extra five minutes are any indication, the answer will be a resounding no.

Those two offensive fouls listed above were especially relevant. Paul Pierce fouled out on the first, and LeBron James fouled out on the second. It was Pierce's third foulout in his last five games and LeBron's fourth in his entire career.

Fittingly, Boston--led by Rajon Rondo (15 points and 15 assists)--was just a little more used to playing in a game like this and pulled out the victory.

Perhaps, more accurately, the Celtics hung on for the victory. Their offense, incredible in the first half, turned equally horrific after the break.

Offensive Rating:

  • First half: 131.3
  • Second half and overtime: 67.5

That change was due to both Boston's regression to the mean and Miami turning up its defensive pressure. On the regression side:

Three-pointers:

  • First half: 7-of-16 (43.8 percent)
  • Second half and overtime: 2-of-11 (18.2 percent)

Free throws :

  • First half: 10-of-10 (100 percent)
  • Second half and overtime: (4-of-10) 40 percent

As far as the Heat was concerned, Udonis Haslem played a huge role in turning the tide, and he even started the third quarter over Joel Anthony. Haslem (12 points and 17 rebounds) helped Miami end one of Boston's main advantages.

Offensive-rebounding percentage:

  • First half: 40.0
  • Second half and overtime: 12.5

By holding Boston to 12 points in the third quarter and 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Heat earned a chance to win the game on the final possession of regulation. LeBron, facing a triple team, threw a deflected pass to Haslem, who missed a long jumper at the buzzer. LeBron, who will undoubtedly face tons of criticism for passing on the shot, correctly realized that, when he's triple-teamed, someone else is open. But he erred by not accounting for the triple team, especially as applied by the lengthy Kevin Garnett, making a pass more difficult. Neither LeBron shooting over a triple team or passing out of a triple team is a great proposition in that situation, but passing is not the obviously better option.

Regardless, LeBron certainly won't face the same scrutiny as Dwyane Wade, who missed a three-pointer to end overtime. Wade, with Marquis Daniels guarding him after a switch, pump faked to create a clean look, but hit rim.

It was a tough night for LeBron (29 points on 25 shots with seven turnovers) and Wade (20 points on 22 shots--though, he defend and passed well, notching three steals, three blocks and six assists). Kevin Garnett (17 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, five blocks and two steals) blocked each LeBron and Wade twice.

Really, Garnett was at the heart of the Heat's uneven play and unsteady lineups. Erik Spoelstra started Anthony, presumably for his ability to defend Garnett. It didn't work. Boston outscored Miami, 29-20, in the 14:36 they shared the court. The next solution? It might be Chris Bosh.

The Celtics, on the other hand, seem to have a much firmer grasp of what they're doing, and it's working just well enough. Take Rondo, for instance. He had three turnovers tonight, but all three came on charges. Those dead-ball turnovers, a sign of aggressiveness that has made Boston's offense click, prevented the Heat from getting into transition, unlike steals would have. By channeling his aggression through dribbling more than passing, Rondo has limited a Miami advantage.

It might not sound like much, but in a tight game and tight series, those small tweaks make all the difference.

This free article is an example of the kind of content available to Basketball Prospectus Premium subscribers. See our Premium page for more details and to subscribe.

Dan Feldman is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Dan by clicking here or click here to see Dan's other articles.

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Spurs (06/04)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/03)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/05)
Next Article >>
Ranking the Unranked (06/05)

RECENTLY AT BASKETBALL PROSPECTUS
State of Basketball Prospectus: A Brief Anno...
Tuesday Truths: March-at-Last Edition
Easy Bubble Solver: The Triumphant Return
Premium Article Bubbles of their Own Making: Villanova, Temp...
Tuesday Truths: Crunch Time Edition

MORE FROM JUNE 4, 2012
Premium Article Spurs: Building the Perfect Beast
Premium Article Thunder: OKC Can't Rely on Game 4 Formula
Perfect Hindsight: Re-Ranking Last Year's To...

MORE BY DAN FELDMAN
2012-06-28 - NBA Draft: Who should they take?
2012-06-10 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: The Blueprint
2012-06-08 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: LeBronned
2012-06-04 - Playoff Prospectus: Four-on-Four
2012-06-02 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Unlikely Heroes
2012-05-29 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: In Control
2012-05-25 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Too Good
More...

MORE PLAYOFF PROSPECTUS
2012-06-07 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Thunderstruck
2012-06-06 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Every Play Counts
2012-06-05 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: On the Ropes
2012-06-04 - Playoff Prospectus: Four-on-Four
2012-06-03 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Efficient Thunder
2012-06-02 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Unlikely Heroes
2012-06-01 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: At Last, the Spurs Lose
More...

Basketball Prospectus Home  |  Terms of Service  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us
Copyright © 1996-2014 Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.