True Hoops

True Hoops

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anatomy of a Finals Winner

We're taking about running plays!?
Who needs plays when you have Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh on your team?

Uh......did you see the end of game 2 of the finals?

There was almost a repeat performance in game 3.
Luckily for Miami, Dwayne Wade carried the Miami Heat in the 4th quarter last night - making big shot after big shot as Dallas was busy trying to make another comeback.

But as every good team does, Dallas made an adjustment and decided to double Wade on every possession to get the ball out of his hands down the stretch. Jeff Van Gundy was in full agreement, going so far to say "get the ball out of Wade's hands, even if that means LeBron gets it." Pretty strong words.

Well, the question was: how would Miami adjust to the adjustment?
With the ball and under a minute to go in a tie game, what sort of play would they run - knowing there was no way Dallas would let Wade operate one on one.

Let's see:

What makes certain plays great, is their ability to get an open/high percentage shot regardless of how the defense plays it. These types of plays have primary, secondary, and even tertiary options. If a play is run correctly and all the way through, one of your options is bound to become available.

Let's break down this play.
Primary option: Dwayne Wade.

But the double is coming.
So, let's put Wade in a pick and pop with LeBron.
If the defender guarding LeBron (Shawn Marion) doesn't Hedge out, Wade can turn the corner and get to the basket. If the strong side help defense (Jason Terry) comes over - put Mario Chalmers in the strong side corner, who made 4 three pointers in the game.

Still, more than likely Marion will hedge out on the screen and double:

Secondary option: LeBron James.
As Wade is doubled he will pass it back to LeBron who is set up at the foul line.

But unless you want LeBron to have an open lane to the basket - Dallas now has to send over help from the weak side - in this case it's Tyson Chandler.
Still, chances are Miami would like a one on one between LeBron and Chandler, so Marion is going to race back from Wade and double LeBron with Chandler.

Here is the beauty of the play.
Since Chandler came over from the weak side to protect the middle, Dirk is now left to guard two people on the weak side:
Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh.
Realizing this, Haslem makes a great play by setting a screen on Dirk, thus freeing up Chris bosh for a wide open mid-range jumper.

LeBron immediately recognizes (almost as if they drew it up) and makes an amazing pass to Bosh (really it was, his body was facing the opposite direction).

The ball has now been reversed from one side of the floor to the other with Bosh primed to knockdown the eventual game winning basket.

And that my friends is your tertiary option.
And that my friends is a big 3 options to have.
Wade to LeBron to Bosh.
Advantage Miami.

Let me say this. For all the talk of the super stars Miami has, coach Eric Spoelstra has turned into one of the Heat's strengths this post-season. This play is a great example. As I've said previously, one of the most important attributes that a coach needs to be successful is the ability to make adjustments on the fly during a game.

First, think about the adjustment that Spoelstra made from the end of game 2 (no plan) to the end of game 3 (plan). Now think about drawing up this play in a pivotal game 3, on the road, with under a minute to go, during a 20 second time out. Trust me, the players aren't the only ones that are under pressure. And trust me, the ability of a coach to lead and make confident decisions in pressure situations filters down to their players.

Ultimately the job of a coach is to put his players in a position to be successful, utilize their strengths, and win the game. It doesn't matter if it's three role players or three stars. Ultimately, this play accomplished all of that.


  1. Not gonna lie, starting with mid way through the Bull series the Heat have started to play a poor man's triangle halfcourt offense with Bosh being a big part of that, and its worked pretty well when they needed to get work done in the half court set. But its still a series and either way Lebron is still a bitch...

  2. To quote the erudite 50 cent:

    "Banks told me go 'head switch the style up, if haters wanna hate, watch the money pile up."

  3. Im really not sure at this point as to how Dallas plans on winning this series. I mean really, can they play any better than they did in game 3??? Dirk's options are all guys who basically need to be wide open to make shots, and that's not happening because the Heat defense is suffocating. They are shooting their lowest percentage in the playoffs so far, that is not by accident.

    Coach Spo did make the adjustment from games 2 to 3, enabling his team to get the W. To bring this to a local front, this is way Mike (No D) Antoni has to go. This guy makes zero adjustments, & only coaches one side of the ball. The Heat have proven up until this point that if even if you have no offense (and now that I think about it, why would you if you have two and a half men on ur team) that defense is what wins championships. If this guys take it this year, it's gonna look real ugly for the league for the next 7 years trying to take this guys down. Bring on the lockout!!! LOL

  4. Yeah. it's going to be pretty tough for Dallas. As with Chicago in the previous round, they really only have one guy that can crete for himself and others - Dirk. And as I've said over and over again, this is the reason LeBron went to Miami, so he doesn't have to be the only guy.

    I said it in my Finals preview, Dallas is at their best when they are making three pointers off of drive and kicks. Besides Dirk, Jose Barea may be the only other guy that can get into the paint to kick out. But, I really felt the difference in this series was going to be the ability of the Miami Heat to play perimeter defense (look back at what I said in "Destiny vs. Free Will"). I think Terry should be more aggressive going to the basket and shooting off the dribble, he has the ability (did you see him almost throw it on LeBron in Miami) - although not an easy task for a 6'2" guard to create on LeBron.

    Who would have thought that Miami's defense would have been their biggest asset? Plus their coaching and role players have been coming through in the playoffs......and they are only going to get better.
    Hopefully there won't be a lockout, but if there is - all the more reason Miami needs to win it now.

  5. If we're give Spoelstra credit for breaking down the double team on Wade, shouldn't he get hackles for not similarly doubling Dirk? Games 2 and 3, last play of the game he put single coverage on Dirk. He got good looks both times.

  6. If you call an off balance step-back/fall-away jumper a good look, then yeah sure Dirk got a good look at the end of game 3 :) (just kidding).

    The problem with doubling Dirk, is that Dallas' shooters can really hurt you if you help off them. Not sure if I would want to give someone an open shot the last play of the game.

    The end of game 2 was an absolute debacle - Miami had a foul to give - Bosh should have fouled Dirk once he got by him. I have to believe Spoelstra told them that in the huddle.

    But your argument makes a good point and maybe is why the series is tied up now

    Dirk had 10 points in the 4th quarter tonight, including a lay-up late to put Dallas up 3. All this with a 101 fever. maybe they should start doubling the 4th.

    What ever happened to LeBron trying to guard him???
    Or what ever happened to LeBron period???

    LeBron james only scored 8 points for the entire game!!!!!!
    I know some of those that made a comment earlier will enjoy that.

    Let's hope LeBron catches whatever Dirk had.

  7. I think that step back jumper Dirk got off in Game 3 was a pretty comfortable shot for him. But yes....2/3 now. Why won't Spo make the adjustment?

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    If only I could imbed this photo.....

    You'll have to cut and paste.

  10. Nice fire extinguisher.

    We'll see what happens tomorrow night. I don't see anyway that LeBron scores only 8 again.