(Photo Credit: Melissa Majchrzak)The Miami HEAT look to stay on the winning tract tonight against the Utah Jazz. The HEAT, 24-11, are in the midst of a six game road trip. The Jazz are 20-19 and just outside the Western Conference playoff picture. Tip off is set for 9 PM; coverage on Sun Sports kicks off at 8:30 PM. 1. The previous Jazz-HEAT game didn’t feature quite the number of offensive rebounds you might have expected. Should anything change tonight?
Couper Moorhead: It’s impossible to know for sure, given the unpredictable nature of missed shots – though we are learning more and more about where those missed shots are likely to end up as technology improves. What’s important for the HEAT is to continue to be tested on the defensive glass, even if they get beat every once in a while. On the other hand, the Jazz turn the ball over a fair amount with how much high-risk passing they tend to do, so the HEAT will also have the opportunity to mitigate the rebounding with higher-value turnovers.
Danny Martinez: There is no way of knowing. The Jazz can take the exact same shots as the previous game, miss them the same way and the team grabbing the rebound might be different. Rebounds are often the result of random or awkward bounces. As we’ve covered before, this HEAT roster has many capable rebounders. If everyone plays to their potential in Utah, rebounds really shouldn’t be a huge concern. But even if the Jazz grab a bunch of offensive rebounds, there are ways around it.2. As Danny told us the other night with some excellent research after the win in Sacramento, Miami just enjoyed its most efficient offensive game in franchise history. What was different?
Couper: Shots went in. Some night, that’s really all there is to it. The Kings struggled to get to shooters so the HEAT enjoyed a few more open shots than is typical – and turned the ball over at the same time – but in the end Miami’s efficient night was the result of simple randomness. We would be saying the exact same thing if they had lost by 10 missing the same shots.
Danny: The most efficient shots in basketball are shots at the rim and three-pointers. The midrange is where efficiency goes to die. Against the Kings, only 28.8 percent of HEAT field goal attempts came from inefficient spots on the floor. So, they set themselves up to have a big night. All that was needed after that was for the shots to go down, and boy did they. The 17 made threes were a high for the last three seasons. I doubt we see anything close to this efficiency again.3. What does Mario Chalmers do for Miami when he is shooting like he was last season?
Couper: It’s amazing that in one January night a player can go from shooting sub-35 percent from three to almost 40 percent for the season, but that’s what Chalmers did. But the strange thing about the NBA is that the amount of spacing you create for your offense doesn’t fluctuate with your percentages as you might expect it to. Teams will guard Chalmers the same way this week as they did last week no matter what the numbers say. The HEAT will score more as Chalmers shoots better, but the effect isn’t as profound as the numbers would suggest.
Danny: When Chalmers shares the floor with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James, he’s going to get left open for shots around the perimeter. When he’s knocking them down, the HEAT score points at an absurd rate. Chalmers’ shot is well respected, so I don’t think Saturday’s explosion will change how teams defend him or the HEAT. But, the opportunities will always be there. When Chalmers takes advantage of them, it becomes really difficult to beat the HEAT.