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Should We Still Fear Miami’s Defense? (Yes. Now, Run!)
One of the biggest signatures of the Miami Heat’s 2011-12 title run was their defense.
With it, they were able to force turnovers to get quick and high-percentage shots, in addition to enabling them to get crucial stops down the stretch.
It reminded me of watching one of Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels teams in that you could be up by four one minute, and then down by six just like that.
Of course, this is what happens when your defense is anchored by an elite perimeter defender like LeBron James, whose size, skills, and athleticism make him tough to contend with.
Fast forward to this season. The once-smothering Heat defense is suddenly looking average, and NBA people were surprised that one of the league’s premier defensive units could have taken such a step back so quickly.
It’s not that they’ve been bad, necessarily, since being in the mid-late teens in things like points per game allowed and Defensive Rating is still better than at least a third of the NBA’s teams.
And they are still near the top of the Eastern Conference, so it certainly hasn’t killed them.
Still, it is worth noting despite it being very early in the season. Being a basketball fan in general, this was a disappointing development since their defense made watching Miami games so entertaining.
There had to be a reason, or reasons, so I took a closer look and this is what I found.
by Derek James