Which 5-man lineups have had the most success against the Heat? The surprising answer is…none (at least, this was surprising to me because I assumed there was at least one lineup out there that gave the Heat problems). The top three lineups the Heat have faced, based on their net ratings versus the Heat (given at least 30 minutes played against the Heat) do very poorly, giving up more points than they score.
A big reason why lineups struggle against the Heat is because the Heat are so good at forcing turnovers. The Heat force talented lineups such as OKC’s Durant, Ibaka, Perkins, Sefolosha, Westbrook lineup into turnovers on nearly 20% of their possessions. Put another way, the OKC and Indiana lineups turn the ball over once every five possessions against the Heat.
Essentially, no lineup in the NBA (that has played a decent amount of minutes against the Heat) has a positive net rating. Put another way, every single lineup that has played the Heat (and played a decent amount of minutes against the Heat) gives up more points than they score. This should scare the crap out of any team, especially any team that is going to face the Heat in the playoffs, because basically, their best lineup is going to be ineffective against the Heat.
Note: Now, let me address the minutes issue quickly — yes these lineups have not played a very large amount of minutes against the Heat so the sample size that I am looking at is pretty small. That being said, there is no lineup that has played the Heat for more than 60 minutes — that’s simply the nature of squad rotation. However, it is telling that there is no lineup that has played at least some significant minutes against the Heat and has a positive net rating. So, I think it still says a lot about the ineffectiveness of the premier lineups in the league against the Heat.
Data from here.