Scouting Report: Miami Heat

Sunday, December 22, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

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The second-place Hawks make their second and final regular season visit to Miami hoping to gain a game on the first-place Heat in the division Monday night.  Atlanta played well for three quarters in Miami before things unraveled in a 104-88 loss last month.

Preventing The Heat from getting going off the dribble will be a big key defensively for Atlanta.  Miami likes to break you down one-on-one, which forces the defense to either help, leaving dangerous shooters open in the corner, or stay put, which often results in a highlight dunk or free throws.

In the first meeting, the Hawks had trouble containing Miami’s dribble penetration, which opens the door to the three-pointers they love so much.  The Heat can obviously beat you in a lot of ways, but taking away dribble penetration and forcing them to take shots off the dribble dramatically increases your chances of slowing down their offense.

Miami is led in scoring by the “Big Three,” as LeBron James. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are averaging 60 of Miami’s 104 points per game.  It starts with the two-time reigning MVP James, who is shooting a blistering 60 percent from the floor.  DeMarre Carroll did a decent job on him last time, holding him to 6/13 shooting and just 13 points, but Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers were able to get loose.  You’re not going to be able to stop all of Miami’s weapons, but slowing them down is the difference.

Offensively, the Hawks need to be in attack mode throughout the night.  In Game 1, Atlanta got just 42 points from its starters and only 38 points in the paint.  The Heat are a very good defensive team, but they do lack size, so the paint is often open if Atlanta can get creative.  As we know, Miami is dangerous in transition, so turnovers and long rebounds are rarely a good thing, meaning high-percentage shots will be important.

The Hawks didn’t have Paul Millsap for the first meeting, and they also weren’t playing as well as they are now.  After five straight games against teams with losing records, this will be a big measuring stick for Atlanta as they try to keep the winning streak going.

Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images

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