By Sebastian Pruiti
After going into halftime with the game tied, the Miami Heat came out half and saw themselves get outscored by 21 points in Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls. This series is far from over, and if the Heat want to steal Game 2 and take the home court advantage from Chicago, there are a few adjustments that they can make.
Offense: More Bosh Pick-And-Rolls
According to Synergy Sports Technology, the Bulls are one of the best defenses when it comes to stopping opponents' isolation plays. Naturally, you want to get away from the isolation plays (especially when Chicago had so much success stopping it in Game 1), but you have to replace those possessions with other offense.
My suggestion? More pick-and-rolls with Chris Bosh as the screener. In Game 1, 16 of Bosh's 30 points came off of 11 possessions where he was the roll man on the pick-and -roll. One of the reasons for Bosh's success is that he has a very good feel for space, knowing how to find it, when to roll to the rim, and when to pop out:
Maybe more dangerous than his rolls after setting a screen is when his teammates go away from the screen. When that happens, you would normally assume there is no roll, but Bosh again uses his feel to find the open space and make himself available for the open pass:
Bosh just has a great feel when it comes to how LeBron James (and Dwyane Wade, though it isn't shown here) wants to use screens. As soon as it becomes obvious that James isn't going to use the screen, Bosh shuffle steps to the rim with his chest always facing James, always making himself available to catch a pass. So when the defense does step up to James, instead of forcing a tough jumper, James always has an option to drop it off to Bosh, who has the ability to go up quickly and finish (or at least draw the foul).
If Miami wants to get away from isolation (which they probably should do), the pick-and-roll with Bosh as the screener is probably your best option to replace it with.
Defense: Finish Rotations And Box Out
In Game 1, the Bulls absolutely dominated the Heat on the offensive glass. In my opinion, the biggest problem that the Heat had on the offensive glass was their rotations. The Heat are a quick defense that does a fantastic job helping and rotating to the basketball. However, last night, the Heat never finished off their rotations, meaning that the help man came and stopped/bothered the shot, but nobody had his back, allowing for an offensive rebound:
On this play, there is a loose ball/scramble situation and Joel Anthony ends up matched up with Derrick Rose. Rose drives baseline, and James Jones does a good job of stepping up and forcing Rose to take a floater that he misses. LeBron James slides over to get in front of Taj Gibson, but nobody slides over to get the man he leaves (Joakim Noah). This allows Noah to go up tap the basketball and keep it alive, eventually allowing Taj Gibson to get the rebound and get fouled.
On this play, the Bulls run a pick-and-roll on one side, reverse it to Kyle Korver coming off of a pindown screen. Korver makes a great pass to Noah who is wide open and that pass forces Joel Anthony to step up. Anthony does a great job of forcing Noah to put the ball on the floor and making him miss. However, Mario Chalmers, who rotates down to try and defend Carlos Boozer doesn't fully commit, and this allows Boozer to slam home the offensive rebound.
Here, we have almost the same exact situation. Noah drives baseline off of a great pump fake, again forcing Anthony to step up. Again, nobody covers his back and that allows Boozer to slam home the dunk. Hard to figure out who is at fault here, but it is either Wade or James Jones as both men had a chance to get in front of Boozer. Wade drops down but never gets in front of Boozer and Jones chooses to retreat to the corner and defend Korver instead of boxing Boozer out.
Here, you have the Bulls running that pindown dump pass with Korver again, and again, the Heat do a great job of defending it initially. The ball goes into Asik and to Gibson along the baseline, but there is nothing there. The ball gets kicked out and this is where the rotation breakdown takes place. You have two guys rotating out to Ronnie Brewer, leaving Gibson wide open to throw down the offensive rebound off of the tip.
In my opinion, Chicago's dominance on the glass was due to things the the Heat can correct. It wasn't as if it was Rose penetrating and the defensive rotation to him created offensive rebounding opportunities. That would be far more troubling. If the Heat just finish their rotations and help the helper on the backside, they will find themselves in better position to secure the defensive rebound.