To beat Heat, better bring a star

Part II of 'best strategies' series focuses on elite players, defense

Updated: September 3, 2013, 2:22 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Kevin Durant, LeBron JamesIssac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesWhat else must Kevin Durant and the Thunder do to beat LeBron James and the Heat?

Earlier this summer, I discussed how the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs quite possibly did the opposite of what the league needed from them: Both teams showed the rest of the NBA how to best defend the Miami Heat and still lost. Getting blown out with more conservative tactics or actually beating the Heat (to force Miami to make some changes) would have helped the top five or six contenders a lot more.

In Part I of this three-part series on the best strategies to beat  the Heat, I discussed how those teams can at least study what Indiana and San Antonio did successfully and improve on it when playing Miami this season. (Specifically, we identified rim protection and outshooting Miami from beyond the arc as two keys.) After all, every contender has at least some of the weapons and tools needed to emulate the Pacers' and Spurs' strategies.

In Part II, we'll examine how superstars and elite defense are necessary ingredients to defeat the Heat.

Rim Protection and 3-Point Shooting | Superstars and Elite Defense | Future Stars and Unconventional Schemes

Superstars

In both of its playoff series against the Pacers and Spurs, Miami did not always feature the best player on the court. That is not to say that LeBron James isn't the best player in the world, generally speaking. However, there always is a quarter, game or even a series in which James is not playing at his best -- and that is when a team must strike. Of course, riding a superstar player or two obviously makes that task infinitely easier.


To read more of Part II of David Thorpe's best strategies to beat the Miami Heat, become an Insider today.