NBA playoffs: Here's a recipe to beat the Miami Heat

By Mitch Kunzler

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 23 2013 11:30 p.m. MDT

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 17: (L-R) Dwyane Wade #3, LeBron James #6 and Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat react to a play in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 17, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

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The NBA playoffs this year feel different.

Normally, the annual excitement and energy from NBA fans everywhere during this time of year trumps almost anything else going on in the world. The question of which team will win in the NBA Finals is usually a daily debated topic.

Only this year, most seem to feel that there is only one answer to that question.

With many of the NBA's star players having been plagued with injuries (Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, etc.), the majority of fans seem to think that the normal competition for the Miami Heat just isn't there anymore.

It is easy to see why as well. The superstar trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh was widely considered the favorite to win this year's NBA Finals, even before most of the injuries spread through the league. With the injuries to the Thunder, Celtics, Bulls, Lakers and Pacers, it looks like a cake-walk for Miami.

The Heat's talent doesn't stop with the Big 3, either. The Heat added the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made this past offseason in Ray Allen, and he along with players like Shane Battier, Chris Anderson, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole make Miami a complete team with an abundance of chemistry.

On paper, the Heat look unbeatable. However, every team has its weak points, and in order to beat a team like Miami, an opposing team would have to capitalize on certain key points in order to have a legitimate shot at defeating the defending champions.


The Miami Heat were the worst rebounding team in the entire NBA this past year. They are currently matched up in the playoffs against the best rebounding team in the NBA, the Indiana Pacers.

This is perhaps Miami's greatest weakness, and something it struggles with on a consistent basis. In games that the Miami Heat have lost this year, their opponents out-rebounded them by an average of five rebounds per game, and it is an issue that MVP LeBron James is fully aware of.

"We don't have a dominant rebounder," James said earlier this year to SB Nation. "Collectively, we've got to try to help rebound with one another. Right now, we don't have the size, the athleticism to go up there and dominate a rebounding game. We're trying to collectively do it together, try not to give them second-chance points."

The ticket in staying with the Heat is to attack the glass constantly on both offense and defense. The opposing teams left in the playoffs (Spurs, Grizzlies and Pacers) all have dominant big men that have a nose for the ball in the rebounding department.

Attack Bosh in the post

In relation to Miami's rebounding woes, taking a look at the Heat's primary post player Chris Bosh adds plenty of insight. Bosh, a 6-foot-11 forward/center, has a great face-up game and is surprisingly quick for a post player. What he lacks however, is strength, and he often has been labeled as "soft."

Post players with tremendous strength and power like Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson or Tyson Chandler are most successful against Miami when they use their strength to their advantage to rebound and score effectively.

In several of the Miami Heat's losses, Bosh had some of his worst games of the season. In a loss against Al Jefferson and the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City earlier this year, Bosh managed only one rebound. Jefferson finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Give Wade room

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