Kobe Bryant was held to 8-25 shooting and generally had a tough time getting his shot to fall. Why? The Heat, apparently, have excellent defense.
In all seriousness, the Heat do sport some impressive numbers statistically in the NBA. They are 3rd in the NBA in opponent FG% for 2 pointers. They are 6th in the NBA in opponent FG% in the paint. They are much maligned for their lack of rebounding which is last in the league in offensive rebounds but they do lead the league in FG%, which means there are less chances and a need for them to get their own misses. What is the secret to having one the league’s finest defenses? A strong pick and roll defense.
The Heat have tremendous perimeter speed, allowing them to close out and recover on defense much more dynamically than against other teams. And this is what impressed Kobe Bryant, who only gets to see the Heat twice during the regular season. Here’s something from Dave McMenamin:
Kobe said the Heat D “shocked” the Lakers’ pick-and-roll. Credited the “psychopath” Pat Riley for orchestrating the game plan
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 18, 2013
Although I wonder if the “psychopath” comment was meant to underscore Pat Riley’s greatness as a tactician, I wonder what Kobe’s feelings are about Erik Spoelstra as he is the actual coach of the Miami Heat. But I digress…
Here’s another good read on the details of the Heat’s pick and roll defense and how that drives the Heat’s approach to the game. When the Heat can control the perimeter, and trap opposing players, they can force turnovers and get out and run. And no one runs as well as the Heat in the open court.