The final 10 trips: Breaking down Miami's breakdown

Updated: November 9, 2005, 3:08 PM ET
By John Carroll | Scouts Inc.
"I didn't think we got what we wanted down the stretch. There were about four possessions there, we had a fast break where we didn't get anything out of it. With a game like that, you have to execute. We didn't. That's why we are where we are now."

That was Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, shortly after his team lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Detroit Pistons. The Heat had the lead and the ball with just over two minutes to play, but fell apart and fell just short of their dream of an NBA Finals appearance.

Subsequently, the Heat made the biggest trade in NBA history and have endured -- so far -- a coaching controversy that seems to be born of the problems late in Game 7.

Our "125 Seconds" package looks at the final 2:05 of the game, but I want to look at a slightly longer sequence.

First, let me point out that scoring in the playoffs is extremely difficult. By that time, each team knows its opponent's plays and tendencies. And the last few minutes of a Game 7 might be the most difficult time to score.

That's especially true against a great defensive team like the Pistons, who make sure that any problems you have on offense will be exposed for a national TV audience. In that environment, each possession takes on a life of its own.

Here, then, let's take a look at the last 10 Miami Heat possessions, which began with the score tied 74-74.


John Carroll

Scouts, Basketball Recruiting
John Carroll joined Scouts Inc. after nine years as an NBA coach, including a seven-year tenure with the Boston Celtics that concluded with a four-month stint as interim head coach in 2003-04. Before joining the NBA, Carroll spent six years as head coach at Duquesne University and seven years at Seton Hall as an assistant to head coach P.J. Carlesimo.