Explaining the Heat “collapse”

I pushed Arturo to get his piece in on why the Heat don’t need Bosh before the game yesterday. It was thus appropriate that the Heat fell on their home court to the Indiana Pacers. I have trouble calling a three point loss a collapse, but I thought I’d give insight into how Arturo was right that the Heat didn’t need Chris Bosh and how they could somehow lose without him playing.

Small sample size warning. This is looking at super small sample sizes in the playoffs. If you’d like more comprehensive analysis of long term data, I welcome you to peruse our archives. If you are like most basketball fans that are enjoying the playoffs though, and want quick answers then read on!

The stat we use for games is Points over Par, don’t freak out! This is the Wins Produced you know and love. Arturo has kindly converted wins to points though, so it will make more sense for a single game. Notice the Heat won by 9 and lost by 3 and that Points over Par adds up to that. Fun right?

The Heat against the Pacers on 5-13-2012 w/ Bosh

Player Pos G MP PoP/48 PoP/G
LeBron James 3.5 1 43.2 12.7 11.4
Joel Anthony 5.0 1 23.6 8.3 4.1
Mike Miller 2.5 1 28.5 2.5 1.5
Mario Chalmers 1.0 1 31.4 0.9 0.6
Ronny Turiaf 5.0 1 10.3 -1.6 -0.3
Chris Bosh 4.9 1 15.8 -3.0 -1.0
Dwyane Wade 1.6 1 40.4 -1.3 -1.1
Shane Battier 2.6 1 23.9 -2.9 -1.4
Udonis Haslem 4.0 1 22.9 -9.6 -4.6
Total 1 240 9.1 9.1

The Heat on 5-15-2012 against the Pacers w/o Bosh

PLAYER POS G MP POP/48 POP/G
LeBron James 3.8 1 42.8 11.0 9.8
Norris Cole 1.0 1 17.1 10.1 3.6
Shane Battier 2.8 1 32.8 5.1 3.5
Dwyane Wade 1.8 1 37.4 0.2 0.1
Joel Anthony 5.0 1 35.0 -1.9 -1.4
James Jones 2.5 1 10.4 -7.8 -1.7
Ronny Turiaf 5.0 1 12.6 -6.7 -1.8
Udonis Haslem 4.0 1 12.3 -7.9 -2.0
Mike Miller 2.5 1 17.1 -14.4 -5.1
Mario Chalmers 1.0 1 22.5 -17.1 -8.0
Total 1 240 -3.0 -3.0

Bron was still amazing

Arturo’s thesis was that Bron could move up to the four and still play amazing. This happened. True, he had a better game one than game two, but he was still an elite player in both games (in fact he was twice as good as Arturo’s cutoff for being elite)

The rest of the Heat went missing

In game one Bosh was not actually productive, so his loss wasn’t the key culprit. Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade have been the other great players pulling the Heat in the playoffs. This was true in round one against the Knicks and was true in game one as well. However, Miller, Chalmers and Wade did not play up to their normal levels and that had to hurt in a close loss.

Coaching freaked out

The Heat’s good players had off games. There is one important follow up on that. Sure you don’t ever bench Dwyane Wade. However, when Chalmers and Miller are having bad games what do you do? Well in this case the answer was to give more minutes to Cole and Battier. Now to be fair Battier and Cole did have good games. The point is you can’t freak out when your players are having off nights. In fact, the coach of the year has one of my favorite sound bytes to that effect.

Summing up

The Heat lost because they were missing some key players. None of these was Chris Bosh. Bron was easily able to take on the role he needed to. It is possible that Bosh’s absence influenced the team chemistry of all of the other players. However, I severely doubt that. As is true with most teams if three of your top six players have an off night against a top seeded team, you may lose. The Heat still almost pulled it out. It’s tempting to believe the Heat might fall apart from here on out. Of course, anyone that thinks that hasn’t been watching them this season.

-Dre

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