After watching each and every minute of the game last night, I could not get myself to sleep. My mind was jumbling and searching for a possible solution to the Heat's stifling defense. Throughout my life, there have been two teams that I cannot stand, one being Miami, even before Lebron James, and the other being the Boston Celtics.
Last night's game showed me two things. One being Miami's defense is scary good, and when I mean scary good, I'm saying that I felt as if I was watching Gandalf the Grey fall to the abyss with the Balrog my first time as a 7th grader.(that shit scary) The other thing I saw was, despite playing like batshit, we were still in the game for the most part. I think that's the part that got me most. Despite Lin's turnover rate and Stoudemire's turn over rate (which I'm not necessarily surprised about given recent times) , we were down by less than 10 at the half. We know what happened the second half, a bad third quarter (recent trend), and and a somewhat even fourth quarter.
Despite, all the hate and negativity surrounding that game at the end I do believe there are possible situations to diminish the effect of this pick and roll defense that Miami is so effective with. Here is a picture break down( i did a hell lot of thinking last night)
Here is the Miami's defense:
So this is the Initiation of the Heat defense, this is a particular set that we saw in the game. Typical PnR by the Knicks, Jeremy Lin has the ball guarded by Mario Chalmers, Tyson Chandler comes up for the pick trailed by Joel Anthony. Lin's left is a weaker than his right side and Chalmers is quick enough keep up with Lin going left, especially since Dwayne Wade is on Landry Fields at the baseline, Fields is not a great outside shooter obviously, so Wade has the ability to show help D, and it doesn't help that he is quick as hell. Lebron is on Carmelo Anthony for time being, while Amare Stoudemire is trying to establish post presence on offense against Bosh. So now we see Lin initiate using the pick...
Here, we see great execution, by the Heat, Lin is shown the double team, the typical play would be that Lin feeds a hungry Tyson rolling to the basket or attempt to drive, but because Lin is so heavily pressured on the double team trap, even if the ball gets to Chandler he is too far from the basket to be effective. Passing to Melo is dangerous because Lebron is right there ready to steal for an easy transition bucket, while Joel Anthony, a very mobile big man, and Chalmers do a good job funneling Lin to where they want them, Stoudemire isn't a viable option because there isn't a clear passing lane. The only pass that is available at that specific time is Fields, who has to run out to get the pass, and is not at all effective from that far from the basket. You can mix and match the players on the court, and you can see how the defense is very effective into leading to a turnover or a very difficultly attained shot opportunity.
After many sketches and many sleepless hours of brainstorming, I found that perhaps having two point guards on the floor would most probably be the likely scenario that would possibly force Miami to change their PnR defensive scheme. Having Jeremy Lin and a Baron Davis back-court for this particular set, would create a fairly simple but hopefully effective way of breaking down Miami defense.
Picture number 1 (I ended up calling the set Top Heavy because of the congestion it causes at the top of the key)
(realistically the spacing would be better, but because I'm using a shitty editing program its not drawn to scale)
Here we see Lin again in the same formation as the previous set, but sub in B-dizzle for Landry for the time being and place him towards the the right side hanging around the 3 point line, place Melo in the pooping area of the corner 3. Now we Lin initiate the PnR again with Tyson as we have Davis move towards the ball, he'll have to create a little space with Lebron guarding him to be a little more successful. As Amare pretends to battle for post presence without getting called for 3 seconds, after the PnR starts he'll need to make his way to the elbow area where Bosh will more than likely follow due to studying how much Amare loves that elbow jumper. Melo will also need to run out towards Lin, as he is being trailed by Wade. (At this particular set you can switch Dwade and Lebron match ups if you so please since they are both great wing defenders) You can see why this is called top heavy in the next and final picture.
*orange arrows=Ball movement
Pick n Roll is initiated, Chandler will need to do a delayed roll to the basket, even if Lin is getting swarmed with that double(chances are Joel Anthony will be there a tad bit longer than most doubles) Lin will have to pass out the double carefully, straight to Baron Davis, this should attract Lebron to D up noting that Davis can/will shoot. Davis will hit the striding amare at the elbow. Melo running out will attract D-Wade and free up space because he knows to not leave him open at the 3 point line. Amare feeds it to a rolling Chandler who is hopefully beyond Joel Anthony's wing span while setting a up a baby screen to fend off Bosh. Hopefully then Chandler takes flight. Basket.
Now 4 what-if scenarios;
If Dwade decides to keep an eye on Chandler, Amare will have the opportunity to pass it out to Melo, who can then either pop it or create some havoc off the dribble if Chalmers rotates.
If Amare's baby screens are like some of his real screens, and Bosh gets loose to Chandler, Amare needs to follow to the basket, hopefully for a possible rebound
If in fact Davis doesn't create enough space with Lebron, as soon as Lin passes out, the double should collapse, and there can be a possible reset.
If Lin manages to get the ball to Melo, at the 3 point line, he can ISO against a Wade/Lebron and take it to the rack since the double is implemented at the time so the paint may be clearer than it usually is. Chandler will be on his way under the hoop second chance opportunity for a rebound.
I know this isn't the prettiest visualization/ presentation ( believe me I wish I could have done this live for you all to see but my video editing skills suck).
This is no ways a foolproof method. It's just my take on how we could approach this superior defensive effort. I used to do a bit of coaching on the side, I really was bothered by that Miami defense but not so much by the loss. I'm welcome to critics, adjustments, and suggestions. I just did this because I'm that kind of guy who will try to finish a puzzle all night even if it causes me to lose sleep. This Miami defense is one crazy puzzle, I wish this set could be viewed in action.
If you actually took your time out to read this, I humbly thank you.