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The Formula

I was talking to an Eastern Conference scout at halftime, one who hadn't seen the Heat play in a while, and he said he thought Dwyane Wade was better under Stan Van Gundy. I agreed and had been thinking this for a while.
The reason is this: For all the experience Pat Riley has, which has helped him get Gary Payton and Antoine Walker more involved in games, he's not really one to let a guard go isolation possession after possession. He's more old school and wants to either go in the post or run some sort of play. But when Stan was coaching, especially in the playoffs last year, he wasn't afraid to just line up Dwyane against his defender and let him go to town. And as you saw in the playoffs, it worked -- A LOT!
Well, look at the second half against the Pistons. Wade lined his guy up over and over, and it worked over and over again.

Maybe now, at least in the big games, Pat will call as many isolation plays as it takes to get a win. The best part about how Sunday's win came was that Shaq also managed a big game. And that should encourage Heat fans who think the team has no shot against the Pistons. I don't know if it's pride or stupidity, but the Pistons continue to play Shaq one-on-one (maybe it's because it worked against the Lakers). And if he can have a big game, and Dwyane can do his usual number against the Pistons, the Heat has just as good a chance against that team as last year.
Look at what happened Sunday. Shaq and Dwyane went off, Gary Payton helped out with 13 points, and no one else did anything, really, offensively. The Pistons nailed 11 three-pointers. The Heat just one. And somehow the Heat still won.

A couple other things to note about Sunday's game: Shandon Anderson was absolutely huge. His defense on Rip Hamilton is what allowed everything else to happen. There's no way the Heat holds the Pistons to 14 points in the fourth without him. Look for him to be a regular in the rotation, especially if Posey continues to play uneven basketball.
And I know Jason Williams didn't play much and had trouble with Chauncey Billups, but look for him to finally break out again and start playing like he had been before the finger injury. The stitches are gone, so he'll start playing aggressively again.


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please that micarcle ass performance isn't going ot happen 4 out of 7 times in the playoffs against the pistons

So THAT's what "leadership" looks like. Again.

Shaq dominating.

DWade dominating.

Miami beating Detroit in a way few teams have -- overcoming a Piston double-digit lead.

Shaq and Dwyane finally LED *this* team like they'll need to in the playoffs. Teammates finally FOLLOWED them into the fire with much better effort throughout, even though the boxscore may not show it.

If, against good perimeter teams, this remains Riley's formula -- "this" meaning starting JWill/Posey to stay within reach, maintain tempo, lull opposing offenses; closing with GP/Shandon late for intensive defensive minutes while D for Dagger Wade or Most Dominant Ever kill them with offense -- so be it.

Fave moment: DWade knocking Ben Wallace to the floor with the strength of his booty for a defensive rebound as Ben tried to reach around or over for an offensive board. The look on Wallace's face as he pulled himself up was PRICELESS. But no less indignant than several grimaces in the 1st half when Shaq turned both Wallaces into, um, female canines?

However, as well as GP/Shandon defended in the 4th, neither will be as "effective" when it counts if forced to play extended minutes *now*.

To this end, Riley should still consider 10th-11th-12th man trades (Doleac + Wright/Kapono/Fitch) for 2 bodies that will provide better usable, multipurpose athleticism, quickness & all-around skills at 2/3, 2/1.

There is FAR too much fragility across the board to gamble on lady luck come April, May, June. Anderson's back issue could easily recur before Miami's first series; overusing GP now will only reduce his effectiveness later; Miami's starting unit will never reach the level of continuity and consistency it needs with JWill's minutes permanently rationed; Zo remains an invaluable though closely monitored resource that Riley no longer projects for any "SoZo" experimentation.

Making a bottom-of-the-roster trade (preferably 2 for 2) before the deadline will not alter Riley's irregular rotation since Doleac/Wright/Kapono/Fitch never see regular minutes anyway. As a result, the Heat as a "team" have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Playing Shaq one on one is not about pride or foolishness, it's a winning tactic. It's the reason why the Pistons have fared well against Shaq. Shaq had 20 points at halftime and the Heat were down by 10 points. It's an effective strategy, and would have been yesterday if not for Wade's heroics.

if they meet detroit in the playoffs down the line -- since billups's size is an advantage over jwill, wade is better off guarding billups to start the game, also since billups isn't as quick as rip hamilton. and since hamilton runs off of screens all day, a quick defender like jwill can do a solid job covering him, which wll also avoid wearing wade out chasing hamilton.

wade showed that he can be a main option down the stretch. just like l.a.--shaq carried the offense for the first 44-46 minutes, and kobe took over the last 2-4. wade showed he can finish in the clutch like kobe. and, as opposed to shaq, he can hit foul shots. a two man game on one side of the court or with shaq setting a pick for pick and roll with wade can make them even more potent down the stretch. at a minimum all the attention they get in a two man game will generate open looks for posey, haslem, jwill, walker and payton...

You want to make a serious run.....make sure you get KMART with VO from Denver sign Spree and get rid of Haslem (they need size),Doleac,Wright (if you have to), Walker (works for Denvers uptempo game), and Kapono (salary) and your cap exception to Denver and know you have a guy that can knock down 3's like DJ last year. KMART who can defend Sheed and heck any PF in the West. Spree for insurance purpose of Anderson getting hurt again. Now you have a serious team and you are not short at the have SHAQ-ZO-SIMIEN-KMART-BARON.

Playing Shaq with single coverage DIDN'T work against the Lakers. Check out the box scores from the 2004 Finals: Shaq killed the Pistons. It's never worked for Wallace.

The Pistons can't guard Shaq! Their whole front line is full of forwards and that includes Ben Wallace and Dale Davis. I've been sayin this for a while now and it all boils down to the way the Heat use Shaq! When Shaq played under SVG he was used solely on the left block which is the worst place for a right handed player to produce points(Orlando and LA pre-Phil used him like that too). When Shaq goes to his power drop on the left block his right shoulder is right next to the defender which makes it too easy to foul him. So when Shaq wants to put up shots without getting fouled he settles for the jumphook or the turnaround jumpshot (that Riley has been asking for). Those are his weakest shots. When Shaq is getting the ball in the middle of the lane and on the right block he turns to the baseline(over his left shoulder) and he pins the defender on his left shoulder. So if they try to foul him he's so wide that they'll only be getting his left side and he can still shoot the ball off the glass for the easy two! It's unstoppable! Look back at yesterdays game and you'll see that Shaq was dominating the game when he was posting up from all angles. Then in the second half they went right back to posting Shaq solely on the left block and his production slowed! If it weren't for him getting some of those missed jumphooks back he would have had a terrible second half. Pat Riley has to realize how he's killing Shaq's production by sticking him on that left block! Too many jumphooks, turnaround jumpers, and passes from that side. Shaq should have went for 40+ last night against single coverage. And just a side note if the Heat were to feed Zo the ball the same way they give to Shaq then they won't fall behind because he can still score on the block too and he shoots well over 50% from the field! Stop making Zo the designated screener when he comes in. It's when the Heat get jumpshot crazy that they always fall behind or loose leads! Everytime! Attack attack attack! Stop settling for the quick jumpshot and the Heat won't be losing to elite squads!

Wade's clutch performance was one of the best I've ever seen (and I am 60 years old).
T. Prince is supposed to be a prime time stopper. A cigar-store Indian could have done as much.

Single coverage DID work against Shaq. The Lakers lost the games. You're missing the point. The point is, Shaq goes off for 35 points, and the supporting cast struggles because they're facing tough, man to man coverage. It's not Shaq you stop, it's everyone else. Shaq's greatest asset is making everyone around him better by drawing double and triple teams. That leaves the role players open for perimeter shots and three pointers. Taking that away puts extra pressure on Shaq and Kobe (or Wade) to do it all.

Stan wasn't that much better, we just had better chemistry and three point shooters.

If my memory serves me correct Jones and Damon Jones were well covered by the Pistons.

It came down to Shaq and Wade. last year we didn't lose Shaq untill the post season or I think our record would have been identical.

With Shaq and Wade being the main sources of offense the other players have to find thier role.

Now that Vince Carter is back, do you think last year team would of beat them this year.

That team was basically a still a two man offense. Damon and Eddie weren't as effective against the Pistons and probably wouldn't have been against the Spurs.

Also Dwyane looked better last year becuase he was the main baller handler . We have Payton and J-Will to handled th ball.

If anything it allows us flexiblity.

In the 2004 finals Shaq was unstoppable when he got the ball and the Pistons single-covered him. If you actually saw the series when Shaq had the hot hand and was asking for the ball Kobe just ignored him. Kobe wouldn't accept the fact that Tayshawn Prince was shutting him down, so he kept shooting. That's what led to Shaq wanting to get traded. To the people who get their stats twisted watch the series first.

If Shaq could still go for 50 points with single coverage like he would have 5 years ago, there would be no way a team could get away with single covering him. The problem is, he's getting 30-35 points now, which isn't quite enough to overwhelm the opposition.

The complaint about Shaq getting the ball is still nagging him, with a new team and now 2 different coaches since he left L.A. Obviously, some of the problem with Shaq not always getting the ball is Shaq.

GP is a shell of his former self. Wade doesn't seem to make anybody around play better. Zo has no endurance. Haslem gets abused by R.Wallace. Jwill is to slow for Rip and not strong enough to gaurd Billups. And I like how everyone thinks that because the Pistons gaurd Shaq 1 on 1 that he should go off and that = Heat victory. Shaq can score 30,40 or even 50 points unless the Heat bring it with the rest of their team forget it. That game was a Piston loss more than a Heat victory. That won't happen 4 out of 7 times. You may not see the Piston wisdom in gaurding Shaq, but you certainly can't argue with the results. Piston teams have defeated Shaq teams(LA & Miami) in 2 straight playoff appearances. Concentrate on the trade talk because this current Piston team is better than the last two and the Heat don't stand a chance in these playoffs with out some more help. Enjoy that win Heat fans it's the closest your going to come to an NBA title in a while.

I like when piston fans comment on these boards. It's like they have nothing better to do other than trash the heat. Listen, go outside and get some air ( I know that is hard to do in Detriot). Take your girlfriend out, enjoy life an stop trolling.

"Pistonfan" is obviously upset, but I agree that it was a Pistons loss more than a Heat win. Look, I'm old school Heat fan...i've been true since #4 warmed up the Miami Arena.... But fact is, this year's Heat team is worse than last year's and the Pistons team is actually better than last years. The Heat will struggle to reach the conference finals, and if we do, we will have a very difficult time beating Detroit 4 out of 7.

LOL, Actually, it'll probably be easier to get some fresh air in Detroit TONIGHT

Time to bring Wang Xiu Xiu back.

Is there anyone in the NBA who can shut down D. Wade 4 out of 7? I don't think anyone can lock him down period, except himself. As long as he's healthy and Shaq's around you will see the stars shine come money time. Detroit...don't be pissed because you lost, you of all people should know that just because you have the best record during the regular season, doesn't mean Championship, ala Detroit Red Wings (yes, I'm a Wingnut, I love 'em) but they've proven (painfully) best records do not equal Championships.

Pistonfan says,"Wade doesn't seem to make anybody around play better."

Yeah, tell that to Kentucky after Marquette took them apart.

"wade doesn't seem to make anybody around play better" - that is a statement for the pure ignorant. wade's stat line as of today 27.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.8 assts, he's shooting a career high 48.8% from the field, and gets to the line the 3rd most in the league. Yeah he doesn't make anybody better but his entire TEAM! And I am tired of all these heat fans saying "that we aren't as good as last year and the pistons are better this year than last." This is true according to regular season records, which in all acuality counts for nothing except a seed in the playoffs. If u go by regular season record, LAST YEAR's HEAT TEAM was BETTER THAN LAST YEAR's PISTONS TEAM. So we just have to wait and see. But whats up with all the HEAT fans and their negative talk, WE WILL play detroit in the EASTERN finals and as long as were healthy, the HEAT WILL PREVAIL!

hey israel, why don't you learn something from your counterpart ira windermann and actually have a DAILY blog. after all, that's what a blog is supposed to be.

Kenny you're over simplifying the point. The Lakers didn't loose because of Shaq. The Lakers lost because Kobe wanted to be the Finals MVP! Kobe shot 38% from the field on 120 shots, while Shaq shot 62% on only 80 shots! Now you gotta be kiddin me if you think Shaq being covered one on one was a success especially when Karl Malone was injured! Ask Larry Brown how that one on one coverage worked with Philly! We just have to be more creative with the way we're giving Shaq the ball! Riley is too perdictable with the way he's feeding Shaq! UCLA, Cross Screen, Diagonal Screen, there's plenty of ways to get Shaq into scoring postion without him always having to fight for postion. There no rule against setting screens for a big man! None. Utah used them all the time to get Malone in optimum scoring postion! Remember how Stockton would always set the "Guard on Big" screen to set up Malone and to prevent the switch? Man you have to know how to use a lethal weapon correctly if you want it to be deadly!

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