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 Playoff Prospectus (06/08)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/13)
Next Article >>
Playoff Preview (06/11)

June 10, 2012
Playoff Prospectus
The Blueprint

by Dan Feldman

Printer-
friendly
Contact
Author

at Miami 101, Boston 88 (Miami wins, 4-3)
Pace: 83.3
Offensive Ratings: Miami 122.5, Boston 104.6

The Heat's victory over Boston in Saturday's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals sets up the first Finals matchup between the top two in MVP voting since Michael Jordan bested Karl Malone in the 1998 MVP voting and the NBA Finals. The LeBron James-Kevin Durant matchup should be captivating, a battle between two great players who play the same position. It will also serve as a referendum on LeBron's value of a basketball player, and if the Heat fail to win the championship ... .

Before we get carried away with what should be a great Finals, let's take a moment to celebrate how the Heat won the East against the conference's best team over the last several years.

In the first half, everything we thought we knew about the battle-tested Celtics and weak-minded Heat seemed to be true. Boston looked poised, and Miami looked passive. The best example: Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each made 2-of-3 three-pointers, and the Heat made 4-of-13 three-pointers as the Celtics took a seven-point lead.

In the fourth quarter, in which the Heat held a 28-15 advantage, the outside shooting reversed. Miami--including 2-of-2 from Chris Bosh, who made a career-high three-pointers--made 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and Boston shot 1-of-7.

In many ways, everything is coming together for the Heat, especially its Big Three. During the 26 minutes LeBron (31 points and 12 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (23 points, six rebounds and six assists) and Bosh (19 points, eight rebounds and +17 in 30 minutes) shared the floor, Miami outscored Boston by 21.

This is what the Heat were supposed to do, with LeBron, Wade and Bosh carrying the team and the other players merely filling in the cracks.

Shane Battier made 4-of-9 three-pointers, though Kevin Garnett in the post and other Celtics driving often took advantage of his defense as a four. Mario Chalmers (nine points and seven assists) kept the ball moving. Udonis Haslem (3-of-4 shooting and six rebounds) played efficiently.

From the moment he threw the ball off Wade's back with just a couple seconds left on the shot clock during a baseline inbound to score Boston's first points, Rajon Rondo (22 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds) creatively and masterfully led the Celtics. Garnett, Pierce and Allen played well overall, but the way they slowed in the fourth quarter of a trying game--shooting a combined 3-for-10 and not getting to the free-throw line--indicates Boston's run as a contender might be ending.

LeBron and the Heat did enough to change the narrative for a day, winning the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals and pulling away in maybe Miami's biggest game of the Heatles era. Facing the Knicks then Pacers then Celtics has, as it should, given the Heat an increasingly tougher test in each round of the playoffs. That shouldn't change with the Thunder, and after barely slipping past Boston, Miami probably should be viewed as the underdog in the next round.

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 Playoff Prospectus (06/08)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/08)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus (06/13)
Next Article >>
Playoff Preview (06/11)

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 BY DAN FELDMAN
2012-08-13 - Premium Article Big Fours: Ranking the Lakers' Stars
2012-06-28 - Premium Article Rebounding: How They Translate
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
More...

MORE PLAYOFF PROSPECTUS
2012-06-18 - Playoff Prospectus: Upper Hand
2012-06-15 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: The Beginning is the End
2012-06-13 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Halftime Switch
2012-06-10 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: The Blueprint
2012-06-08 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: LeBronned
2012-06-07 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Thunderstruck
2012-06-06 - Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: Every Play Counts
More...

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