- David Thorpe, ESPN Staff Writer
Facts are facts.
The Miami Heat boast the world's best player. They have lost just one playoff series in three years. Plus, they can play great team defense and last year had the league's best offense. This is the reality facing the other 29 NBA teams seeking to dethrone the back-to-back champions.
As we went about constructing this three-part series on how to beat the Heat in a playoff series, we first examined the success that the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs had against Miami in the 2012-13 postseason. After all, both teams came within seconds of knocking them out.
In Part I, we discussed the importance of rim protection to limit Miami's easy baskets and keep it from the free throw line, as well as outshooting the Heat from beyond the arc, which uses Miami's speed against itself. In Part II, we talked about why matching superstars is a necessity to offset LeBron James, as well as the necessity of owning an elite defense.
In the third and final part of our series, we'll discuss why having a "future star" contributor is a key ingredient to defeating the Heat, as well as how an unconventional scheme can disrupt Miami's offensive.
Rim Protection and 3-Point Shooting | Superstars and Elite Defense | Future Stars and Unconventional Schemes
Superstar performance from a future star
Think of Indiana center Roy Hibbert against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals or Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals. These are players who, despite performing well during the regular season, didn't scream "superstar." But it only took one huge playoff series by each to change those perceptions.
23hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann