Best strategies to beat the Heat

How do contenders beat the Heat? Start by watching Indiana and San Antonio.

Updated: September 3, 2013, 1:19 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Roy Hibbert Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesRoy Hibbert makes attacking the paint and rim difficult for Miami.

This past May and June, the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs seemingly showed the league a blueprint for how to defeat the Miami Heat.

Both teams pushed LeBron James & Co. to the brink of defeat. And yet, somehow, the Heat managed to survive and win their second consecutive NBA title.

Had the Pacers and Spurs gotten blown out with more conservative tactics or actually won, they would have shed better light on how to beat the Heat. One result would have underscored what to do, the other what not to do.

Just nearly beating the Heat provides a cloudy solution at best. It almost was the exact opposite of what the league needed to see. The Pacers and Spurs didn't win, so should other teams really follow that blueprint, too?

Well, some techniques did work, and contenders should study what Indiana and San Antonio did successfully. With how close the Pacers and Spurs came to defeating the Heat, if a contender can improve upon those performances, an NBA title might be within reach.