Healthy Miami Immune to B2B's?

by Jeff Fogle 5. February 2011 01:24

The Miami Heat won at Charlotte 109-97 Friday, in a game that could easily have been a flat or tired spot the night after a huge TV win at Orlando. Does having a superstar triumverate help make Miami immune to back-to-back fatigue situations?

This thought occurred to me as I was reading the crawl under ESPN's game coverage Friday evening. Dwyane Wade had a triple double in the victory, the night after LeBron James scored 51 points at Orlando. Is Miami uniquely positioned to "trade off" scoring loads when confronted with a back-to-back? Does having a third star in Chris Bosh help carry the burden in a way that other contenders just don't have?

Looking up Miami's performances on night two of back-to-back's is easy enough. You see some big wins and some bad losses (130-102 at Denver). But, a closer look helps make something clear. When HEALTHY, Miami has been playing very well on night two as a general rule.

Let's go down the list:

10/27: a 97-87 win at Philadelphia
11/6: a 101-89 win vs. New Jersey
11/20: a 97-95 LOSS at Memphis

Oops, bad result at Memphis. The boxscore shows though that Dwyane Wade sat out with a bad wrist.

11/27: a 106-95 loss at Dallas

Very bad loss here in terms of in-game form. You probably recall the story. Miami was so disgusted with its performance that there was a player's only meeting after the game. You could make the case that the "real" Miami season started after this loss, because everyone's been on the same page (when healthy) ever since.

12/2: a 118-90 win at Cleveland

Yes, this was THAT game...where LeBron James crushed the heart, spirit, and soul of an entire city. The Cavs have been a ghost ever since.

12/11: a 104-83 win at Sacramento
12/18: a 95-94 win over Washington
12/29: a 125-119 win at Houston

I'm going to call this 2-1 because beating Washington by only a point on your home floor is actually a poor performance. We wrap up 2010 with Miami showing five good results and three bad ones in night two. But, since we're focusing on "healthy" Miami, we drop the Memphis loss and call it 5-2. If we want to consider "post Dallas" the real Heat, it's three good games and one bad one.

1/4: a 101-89 win over Milwaukee
1/13: a 130-102 LOSS at Denver
1/28: an 88-87 win over Detroit

The last two in that hunk are obviously unimpressive. LeBron missed the game in Denver. Bosh and Wade both missed the nailbiter win over Detroit. When healthy, the win over Milwaukee makes it six good games in eight, and four of five since Dallas.

1/31: a 117-90 win over Cleveland
2/4: at 101-97 win at Charlotte

That brings us up to Friday night. With the three musketeers in the lineup, we have eight good results in 10 fatigue spots, and six of seven since the Dallas game.

Hey, it's a small sample size...and we've already learned you have to be careful giving anyone too much credit for beating Cleveland badly (nobody's talking about the Lakers 55-point win over the Cavs any more). But, the early returns are certainly good for healthy Miami maintaining their high level of play in fatigue spots.

Transition Points

*Dallas may have had a breakthrough win Friday night in Boston. Though, it was a "first home" game for the Celtics after a Western swing, and a potential lookahead spot to a TV game Sunday with Orlando. The Mavs didn't get the Celtics at their sharpest and most fired up. But, they did beat a championship contender on the road with an impressive effort.

That's a Superleague win for the Mavericks by the way. Dallas is now 15-8. Boston is 14-6. San Antonio's 17-6 mark is league best. Those three teams are the only ones currently over .500 in our 13-team sample. They are head and shoulders above the field when the best play each other.

*The LA Clippers put up a valiant effort in Atlanta, but suffered another road loss. The Clips are now 3-16 on the road this season.

"PTI" on ESPN today mentioned that Andre Miller of Portland was mad that Clippers' phenom Blake Griffin got an All-Star nod over Lamarcus Aldridge. The hosts scolded Miller, pointing out that the Clippers have a better record over the last 20 games than Portland does.

That's true. At the time of the comments, the Clippers were 12-8 the last 20 games, while Portland was 11-9. What should have ALSO been pointed out though was that the Clippers played 15 of those 20 games at home! Portland only played 11 at home. The records are misleading. Plus, the teams played each other within that hunk, and Portland dominated in a 108-93 victory.

And, you know what Miller saw with his own eyes in that game?

Griffin shoot 6 of 17 from the field
Aldridge shoot 13 of 20 from the field
Eric Gordon of LA score 35 points in 44 minutes

You can see why Miller might have thought the wrong guy was chosen based on his own personal experiences. His guy outplayed Griffin in a battle of starting power forwards. And, Griffin wasn't even the high impact guy on his team that night...in a blowout loss.

*Indiana won their third straight under new coach Frank Vogel. And, it was ANOTHER run-and-gun game. The final score of 100-87 doesn't suggest that. But, the teams shot poorly in an up-tempo affair. Porland only hit 36% of its 88 shots. Indiana was at 40%, and padded their margin with a 33 of 43 night at the free throw line.

Tough to maintain that high a pace if you're not used to it. But, this is a young, enthusiastic squad. Might do some damage for awhile.

*Until they hit a wall like New York did! The Knicks lost again Friday, dropping a close 100-98 decision to Philadelphia. The Knicks are 3-9 their last 12 games, and 9-15 since Boston beat them in a much-hyped ESPN telecast.

Power forward Amare Stoudemire was 7 of 19 from the field. He watched Philly counterpart Elton Brand score 33 points on 14 of 23 shooting.

*Good bounce back for Orlando, with a 110-92 win at Washington. The Magic are only 7-13 in the Superleague after Thursday's loss to Miami, but are 25-6 vs. everyone else.

Have a great weekend..enjoy the Super Bowl...see you again Monday Night...

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Comments

2/5/2011 1:36:05 AM #

Crow

Bigger themes and smaller points, you are on top of it.

Crow United States

2/5/2011 1:51:54 PM #

Greyberger

It's pleasing to me that Crow's gravatar has two feet and little wings.

I really don't know what to make of Dallas.  This year they're outperforming their pyth win% expectation by 4 games.  Last year they finished +6 on Pythagoras and +3 the year before.  

Even if they're better than point margin or SRS says they are, are they that much better than the Hornets or the Nuggets?  

If the Mavs finish strong and give the Lakers a fight for the two seed it would make for a more interesting regular season.  I'm not sure that's where we're headed though.

Greyberger United States

2/5/2011 7:32:50 PM #

Crow

I didn't pick the avatar displayed. I have a crow pic I could use but I haven't felt like signing in just to display one.

Dallas has consciously picked good in the clutch guys but there are probably several others things happening. Including injury and one of the very toughest SOS to date. Also they are dead least on overall consistency here
www.nbastuffer.com/...r_Season_Advanced_Stats.html

They may possibly not have as much break away ability or coaching proclivity to run the score up on weak teams or desire to fight from well behind or some combo of traits. More could probably be reasonably pulled together from the game by game data and other things but I haven't look at it real closely.

Crow United States

2/6/2011 2:08:46 PM #

Jeff Fogle

Thanks crow...

Regarding the Mavs, GB, I think I recall Mark Cuban talking something about his confidence in measuring "clutchness" during a tape I saw from last year's Sloan conference. The recent consistency with outdoing Pythagorean projections is certainly in line with that. Agree with crow that we may also be talking about a team that calls off the dogs earlier in blowouts than others (will go look that up when I get a chance). That would be in line with maximizing efficiency over a long season I think. The point is to be ahead after 48 minutes...rather than be ahead BIG after 48 minutes. Cuban may be dancing along that architecture in a way that's ahead of the curve.

Maybe an NBA version of the Colts. Indy has overachieved the Football Outsiders' estimated wins (that turn stats into expected wins) since the Dungy era started (and through 2 years of the Caldwell era). That's actually the Polian/Manning era (most of the new century)...where you've got brains and ability trying to maximize win potential in areas of clock management, field management, etc... Both Cuban and Polian were on that panel, interestingly. Hosted by Michael Lewis if I recall. Bill Simmons was there too.  

Jeff Fogle United States

2/6/2011 11:19:30 PM #

Crow

Popovich has Spurs at 84% win% and nobody playing over 33 minutes per game? It is not much different than the last 2 titles with only 3 guys over 30 minutes but not Duncan. The question may be how much do you change that in the playoffs? I guess it will probably depend on situation but this will be something of a call to get right or wrong with possible consequence.

Last 2 titles they had 4 over 30 minutes in the playoffs. Last  season's playoffs they tried 5.


No Spurs title team was over 75% win % regular season and their all-time best was 77%. Right now they are on neck n neck pace was 2nd best in league history.

Crow United States

2/7/2011 2:36:13 AM #

Greyberger

I'm a Spurs fan, I might be too invested, so take this with a grain of salt.  

You can approach the questions of rest and "holding back" on a micro level.  In the playoffs, will the guard rotation go beyond Parker Ginobili and Hill? Can Richard Jefferson play 38 or 40 minutes a game?  Do you keep Duncan to 34 or 36 minutes a playoff game, or is the whole point to save up for April?

Greyberger United States

2/9/2011 12:59:18 PM #

Crow

I'd guess Neal's time gets squeezed down unless he gets hot and / or somebody goes cold. Duncan probably is kept to 34-36 minutes until a series or a late round series is on the line.

Crow United States

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