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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Fusiontegra, Dec 15, 2019.
guilty by association
Yea, Jimmy might be too passive. He needs to turn it on
Hollinger: Heat Culture 2.0 has Miami in great shape. Will it matter?
John Hollinger Sep 21, 2020 48
If the Boston Celtics end up rallying to defeat the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, their MVP won’t be Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown or Gordon Hayward.
It will be Drew Brees.
Brees, the New Orleans Saints’ star quarterback, is indirectly responsible for the three days off in this series that could be the key to Boston’s chances. Those off days, of course, result from ESPN owning the rights to both the Eastern Conference finals and Monday Night Football, and its unwillingness to pre-empt Brees’s Saints against the OaklandscusemeLasVegas Raiders on Monday just to squeeze in Game 3.
That this is great news for the Celtics has a little bit to do with them – surely Gordon Hayward could use the extra time to mend – but a huge amount to do with their opponent. The basic fact is that the Celtics keep running out of gas at the end of games, and conversely that the Heat are in much better shape.
Just because Boston won Game 3 doesn’t change anything else about this fact. The Boston Bonk came just as sharply as in the first two games, it just so happened that the Celtics had built a 20-point cushion first.
More generally, conditioning has been a little-discussed piece of these playoffs that has actually played a massive role as we’ve gone deeper. It proved critical both in Denver’s shocking zip past the Clippers in the West semifinals, and in Miami’s unexpectedly winning of six of eight games against Milwaukee and Boston in the East.
Here, let’s start with a hammer of a stat:
Playoff plus-minus per 100 by game section
1ST HALF 2ND HALF 4TH QUARTER
Miami is the team that is fresh at the end of games, running both Milwaukee and Boston ragged in fourth quarters, while the Celtics have been quite the opposite. The Heat are 10-2 in the playoffs despite barely winning first halves, because they’re an amazing +21.4 points per 100 in fourth quarters.
It’s hard to remember now, but Miami surrendered up a 40-spot in the first quarter of the Milwaukee series and were down 14 to the Bucks in Game 3. The Heat also faced debits of 14 and 17 in the first two games against Boston. Even in Game 3, Miami raced back from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit to cut the lead to five before effectively running out of time. In a 53-minute game, the Heat might have won.
All of this represents something of a huge historical u-turn for Miami and its unrelenting “Heat Culture,” one that has always produced results for Miami in regular seasons but has been less kind to them in the playoffs. The long-running critique of Miami’s operating model – maniacally focused on conditioning, not so focused on load management and other preservation models — was that its players were tapped out by the time the most important games had to be played.
Our last significant memory of the playoff Miami Heat was in 2014, when a fresh, rested Spurs team ran circles around an exhausted Heat squad in the 2014 NBA Finals. It’s not the first time we’ve seen that movie, either. The same thing happened against Dallas in 2011, and was barely averted after a dominant regular season in 2013.
Go farther back into the Pat Riley era and the examples mushroom. Yes, the Heat had the glory of 2006 – when Dwyane Wade’s young legs and Shaquille O’Neal missing 23 regular-season games helped alleviate the worst – but from 1998 to 2005 they also lost five playoff series to lower-seeded opponents. (Side note: The Heat and Spurs are the only franchises stable enough that we can casually tie together a quarter-century of team history).
Miami’s reputation back in the day was of being a meat grinder. Miami had the #HeatCulture, yes, but agents whispered that it wasn’t the greatest place to send their players because it shortened their careers. Even in recent seasons, as the Heat squeezed value from a limited roster via elite player development and the longstanding Riley emphasis on conditioning, it came at a cost of one of the league’s highest injury rates.
This season, the visual is different. People lined up around the corner to dunk on Mike Budenholzer for not increasing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s minutes in the second round, but the Heat were doing the exact same thing in that series, except more. Jimmy Butler has yet to play more than 38 minutes of regulation time in any game, while Bam Adebayo snuck in one 39-minute outing. The Heat have used at least nine players in every single playoff game.
In fact, look at this chart below. For the postseason as a whole, Miami’s All-Stars have played more than a hundred minutes fewer than Boston’s top four players. Moreover, even with Toronto playing a four-game laugher in the first round with plentiful garbage time, the Raptors’ best players have seen as much court time as Miami’s … and they were eliminated a week ago.
Eastern Conference playoffs minutes leaders
Jayson Tatum, Boston
Jaylen Brown, Boston
Marcus Smart, Boston
Kemba Walker, Boston
HOLY MOLY LOOK AT THIS GAP
Jimmy Butler, Miami
Bam Adebayo, Miami
Fred VanVleet, Toronto
Pascal Siakam, Toronto
Goran Dragic, Miami
Kyle Lowry, Toronto
Welcome to HeatCulture 2.0, then – the kinder, gentler version that gets the same results without nearly the collateral damage. Erik Spoelstra may sneer at the term “load management,” but what Miami has done with its player usage this season has been a lot more Spursy than anything it has tried in the past. Truth be told, the hardcore #HeatCulture has been almost #Cancun-like in terms of the minutes demands on its best players.
This carries over from the regular season, too. No Heat player ranked in the league’s top 30 in minutes per game. Butler led the team at 33.8, and he missed 15 games for assorted reasons that were definitely not load management so we won’t call it that. Most notably, he only played in four of Miami’s eight seeding games, and one of them was a 15-minute cameo.
Miami has tilted this way since 2015-16 — only Josh Richardson played 34 minutes per game in the five seasons since — but had no All-Star talents who demanded a greater load. This season is an even greater departure given that two All-Stars were subjected to the same system. Butler averaged 36 minutes per game in Minnesota, and was able to dial it back in Philly in part because the Sixers were winning so much. Adebayo came into camp as a 22-year-old newbie starter who could run all day.
Yet Miami resisted pushing them further, even with a non-dominant regular-season team that played a league-high nine overtime games. (Naturally, they won eight of them.) Moreover, Butler and Adebayo were the only two Miami players to average even 30 minutes this year.
And it’s working! In the case of both Miami and Denver, the playoff system was perfectly set up to maximize their advantage. Don’t look now, but the toll of the bubble schedule is starting to catch up to teams. Boston has played 22 games, while the Clippers were playing their 21st in 48 days when Denver blew them off the floor in the second half of Game 7.
More generally, it’s allowed the Heat to play their offensive system at maximum efficiency at all times — a taxing collection of cuts, curls and screens that requires a lot more energy than, say, Houston’s.
Miami helped itself by taking care of business quickly — Saturday was just the 20th game in the bubble for the Heat — but the bigger issue is that the Heat have avoided overworking their best players to get to this point. The Celtics didn’t have this luxury last round, having to squeeze every minute from their top four players with no Gordon Hayward and virtually no bench, and it showed in the first three games.
Boston blamed its mental errors, but fatigue has a way of producing worse decisions. I come back to Jayson Tatum, in Game 1, just trudging up the court with the ball at the four-minute mark. You could say the Celtics were trying to milk the clock here, yes, but if you can’t run to the finish line you’re always going to walk.
Between the team-wide insistence on conditioning and Spoelstra’s willingness to keep the minutes under control, Miami has been able to dominate late-game stretches in all three games.
Let’s go back to the tape again for the symbolic play of Game 2: The early-fourth quarter turnover by Boston on an inbounds pass that yielded no points, but showcased the palpable energy difference between the two teams in fourth quarters.
As the Celtics slog upcourt following a Heat basket, Marcus Smart belatedly realizes that somebody should probably receive the inbound pass because Brad Wanamaker is standing alone with the ball under the basket. (I’m not sure why he’s there, usually the center is supposed to inbound the ball. Maybe Grant Wiliams forgot he was playing 5?) Derrick Jones pounces like a cat on the mistake and makes a great save to keep the ball in; from there multiple Heat players fly all over the court and beat the Celtics badly to a couple of offensive rebounds while Boston mostly watches.
Later in the fourth quarter of Game 2, a similar thing happened. Butler makes a great deflection, yes, but also has the juice in his tank to spring after the ball and save it, and three other Heat players instantly materialize in transition while Tatum and Daniel Theis make halting efforts to recover and the last two Celtics chill in the frontcourt.
Even in Game 3, the difference in fourth-quarter energy was obvious, but Miami had too big a deficit and ran out of time. The same Boston Bonk happened as in the first two games, but the Celtics had a 20-point cushion. This play by Theis was emblematic, a lazy take foul (his fifth!) committed in lieu of sprinting back.
It’s jarring to watch the fourth quarter of Game 3 again. The Heat got whatever the hell they wanted and only failed to come back from a 19-point deficit because of six misses on good 3-point looks. With arguably one exception, every single shot in an eight-minute span was either a quality 3-point look, free throws or a lay-up attempt. All 17 of them.
Here, look at these by-play-results for Miami from the 9-minute mark to just inside one minute, as they whittled a 19-point deficit to five. With each, I’ve added whether the shot was a desirable outcome for the Heat or not:
8:59 GOOD – Robinson missed open 3, Adebayo rebounds, Crowded misses contested 3
8:17 GOOD – Crowder misses open 3
7:55 GOOD – Robinson misses open-ish 3
7:30 GOOD – Butler layup
6:52 GOOD – Butler layup and-1
6:28 GOOD – Butler misses open 3
6:05 BAD – Crowder turnover – Brown steals for dunk
5:52 GOOD – Olynyk fouled after catch inside charge circle against Wanamaker.
5:26 GOOD – Robinson makes open 3
4:49 OKAY – Robinson misses contested 3, possibly fouled
4:21 GOOD – Adebayo fouled on lob catch, free throws
4:13 GOOD – Duncan Robinson beats Tatum for offensive board on free throw (!), results in made open 3 by Robinson
3:27 OKAY – Herro misses contested step-back 3, Crowder beats Brown to rebound, Brown fouls Crowder 35 feet from hoop for free throws.
2:47 GOOD – Adebayo rolls and misses from short range, Butler gets put-back
2:14 GOOD – Herro blows by Tatum for layup, goaltended off rim by Hayward.
1:51 GOOD – Herro misses open 3 off catch.
1:12 GOOD – Robinson hits 3 off catch, possibly fouled.
0:56 GOOD – Adebayo gets easy layup after fake DHO.
Down seven with 41 seconds left, the Heat finally had their first truly tough shot of this stretch, a 30-footer by Herro with two defenders lurking that missed everything. That effectively ended the game, but not before Miami made Boston sweat deeply.
You can’t see it in the play-by-play sheets, but some of these plays for layups were absolute jailbreaks. I mean, here’s Herro just cooking Tatum right after a Boston make:
Which takes us back to Game 4, because it could provide just enough of a turning point to dilute Miami’s advantage. If it were up to the Heat, this series would play every day with no breaks.
The Celtics will get two rest advantages at the same time – a three-day rest when they desperately could use one, and the return of Hayward (with three days to recover from a demanding 31-minute stint in his first game action in over a month) to restore a depleted bench.
At the same time, Miami might have a hard time keeping a lid on the demands of its best players. The Heat have tried to ride with nine or 10 players, but the back end of Spoelstra’s rotation has had a difficult time in this series.
One reason for Miami’s big deficits in the second halves of all three games was that four-man bench units were smacked around by the Celtics. Kendrick Nunn and Andre Iguodala, in particular, have been virtually unplayable, with Nunn unable to make a shot and Iguodala serving as a convenient stash option for the Celtic’s worst defenders. (They put Enes Kanter on him in Game 3. Enes Kanter!)
The fascinating game-within-a-game here is whether this is Spoelstra’s moment to leverage his team’s superior conditioning to this point by upping the minutes on his six best players and mostly, er, deep-sixing the rest. If Herro and the five starters each play 38 minutes, he only needs to find 14 for the rest of his bench – likely Olynyk or zone-defense specialist Derrick Jones Jr.
In particular, Boston’s “five best players” lineup at the end of the first half looked like too much for Miami to handle. The Celtics played it only briefly but almost immediately began a deluge of pick-six turnovers and breakout dunks to close the first half of Game 3.
And again, the three days off may leave just a big enough window of rest for Boston to leverage it’s six best players effectively in the coming games. If so, it’s a tough break for Miami.
The Heat are in good shape up 2-1, because they’re literally in good shape. But between series MVP Brees pushing the next game back three days and the return of Hayward, events may conspire to steal the Heat’s biggest advantage.
(Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images)
Alright time to get our mojo back I expect a big game from Jimmy
Fuck these 9pm starts
Need Crowder to get hot since Celts trying to hide Kemba on defense against him he needs to be moving a lot
I wish we could put Tyler mentality into Bam and Jimmy smh. Even Duncan is passing up shots to pass it smh
They better not overturn this his elbow is in Goran body as he’s going up for the shot
Take Duncan out if he’s not going to shoot get him out of there
Bout time he pulled up on that handoff jeez
Motherfuckin Tyler Hero
Now I’m pissed he didn’t get that last reb for the triple dub in game 1
Hill - 4 minutes, no stats, 2 fouls, +2
Herro is a revelation. Let’s get this shit done in 5 and go win the whole damn thing
My concern going into the playoffs was who could make playoff buckets late in games besides Butler and sometimes Dragic. Bubble Herro is huge.
Like to see a good shooting night from Duncan and for Jae to give something on offense in game 5.
Haven’t even played well this series and are up 3-1. Got to love it
Reddit is undefeated
THE HEAT VS
• THE REFS
• THE ANNOUNCERS
• ADAM SILVER
• PAUL PIERCE
• CHARLES BARKLEY
• THE MONSTARS
AND WE STILL WIN FUCK THE WORLD
I love that Bam talks like a 15-year vet
I want this for Goran also man has had some bad luck teams during his heat tenure so he deserves a Finals trip
Start here. Then enjoy.
it’s got everything. Hoosier shitting on Riley included.
Ooh boy I'm all over the place last June.
But my comment on Herro, "he has potential" lmao
A man of culture
Celts still the fav for game 5 lol. If Miami wins do they still won’t admit Miami is the better team. just like they were trying to make injury excuses for Tatum in the first half when he was playing like shit.
Best part for me is how absolutely miserable ATXCane03 has to be during this entire run
prolly beats off nightly screaming “SPO!!!”
get fucked you miserable cunt
Gotta love when he pops up to shit post during a Celtics run then hasn’t posted since.
Guy is a dumb cunt and once again can get fucked
Any news on Bam and his wrist/arm?
he said he was fine
In a conference finals game, we had the 2 best players on the court and neither one is older than 23.
You want to make this personal? You have no idea who the fuck I am. Have a very happy marriage and family and just because I have a schtick here doesn't mean Im actually like that in real life. Unlike you and 95% of your minions, my life doesn't revolve around a message board.
Lmao so now he’s trying the I’m just trollin guys but I’m not a loser like you guy who take message boarding so serious
If it’s really just a Schtick, stop. Completely reset and stop doing your schtick.
Lol he can’t he’s tried many times he couldn’t even keep his burner accounts from turning into shit posters
you have made multiple different usernames just to be overly negative about every one of your teams you follow for YEARS
yet u want to claim your life doesn’t revolve around a message board
i made one username when i became a ucf fan after al golden
Watching Herro's highlights last night, his game reminds me a lot of a young Mike Miller. Herro is good earlier but a pre-injuries Miller in Memphis rebounded well for his position, despite his size, could score off action away from the ball or as a ballhandler, and worked hard in a defensive scheme(no one's confusing him for a shutdown defender, by any stretch). Think Herro has the ability to be a little more consistent as the focal point of running an offense but their games look a lot alike.
21.5 ppg 11 rpg 4.5 apg for Bam in the conference finals. 23 years old. God is good.
Theis has really been playing that matchup to a draw...
Is this a thing people have said?
There was some scout who said it anonymously.
some fun ones after a quick look back
Dang Nizz that would have been a disastrous trade for Miami. Also you have to love the fact that Mark Cuban played a big roll in this Miami playoff run bec he didn’t want Goran without DJJ
Bam being floated as trade bait was a sure fire trigger for me
guy has it, he’s your favorite player’s favorite player
All aside if you told me this team would be at this point I’d have thought we made a crazy trade. The fact it’s our roster minus Winslow and Dion while adding Crowder and Iggy is incredible.
Also saw that this season Dion Waiters was kicked from the team bc of the edibles incident. Which is staggering honestly at the passage of time. Thought that was years ago
Like I said, I was all over the play last summer. Such a mess