What, exactly, is Miami Heat basketball?
That’s the brand of game that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and company keep pimping out. “Miami Heat basketball.”
“Even though we made mistakes we was flying around and playing the type of basketball we want to play. When we do that we give ourselves a chance to win,” James said after Game 2. “Today was about how bad we wanted it…wasn’t about X’s and O’s.
“We allowed them in Game 1 to dictate what our defense did and that’s not us. Even if we made mistakes, guys had to cover for one another,” James said.
Miami’s help defense was spot on in Game 2.
This clip is a microcosm of Heat basketball. The defense is strong, crisp rotations (though the rotations are limited on this possession), sticky on-ball defense and pressuring the ball handler. It leads to a turnover. James in transition. Wade with the follow through.
It’s not only about help defense, but also help offense. It’s about one player playing off the other. Every guy getting an open look for the guy next to him.
These are things that have made the Heat two-time champions. And they have been the best at it in the NBA for some time.
When the Heat return to Miami for Game 3, the city in which they are undefeated in during these playoffs, they will have to continue to play their brand of basketball.
It’s an unselfish way of playing that ignites a fan base. Fans get excited when they see the spontaneous, yet seemingly choreographed way LeBron and Wade play off each other.
Or when Mario Chalmers passes up an open look to get Ray Allen the ball for a clutch three-pointer. Or when Chris Andersen slides over to help on a driving ball handler to block his shot.
But the Pacers do the same thing. Each player tries to get open shots for the guy next to him. Roy Hibbert erases any ball handler driving to the basket, allowing Indiana’s wing defenders to focus on running guys off the three-point line.
It’s a team game, and the teams that play it best often end up in the conference finals.
Heat basketball is LeBron basketball. Predicated on crisp passing and ball movement. On finishing. On strong defense.
And in Game 2, we saw LeBron basketball beat Pacers basketball.
This clip shows LeBron beating the Pacers defense by driving to the basket and using his gravity and passing skills to find open guys for corner three’s (a rare shot against Pacers basketball).
Indiana got caught up in defending against James, who found the guy next to him for an open look and the Pacers couldn’t run Chalmers nor Bosh off the three-point line. Kaboom.
This is what it means to play Miami Heat basketball. LeBron and the crew will need to keep it up to beat Indiana and move on the NBA Finals.