There is little doubt that when BetAnySports customers discuss the names of coach of the year candidates in the NBA, Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat has to be near the top of the list.
And that might be surprising to some, considering that he had been looked upon as a “push-button” coach to a degree when he had the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh, and was considered to have been protected somewhat by his strong relationship with Wade in particular.
But the truth is, Spoelstra is a good tactician with a pretty solid basketball background who paid his dues and worked his way up the chain. And he is getting more of an opportunity to show what he can do with a team that has done a lot of fundamental things right on the way to a 42-34 record (34-30-2 ATS).
No team has been as sharp from three-point range as the Heat, who are nailing 38.4% of their shots.
And no team has made it more difficult for opponents to shoot from inside the arc, as Miami has limited them to 49.1%.
That’s a tough combination on the part of a team that tends to take up a lot of the shot clock on both ends; the Heat is ranked 27th in the category of “Pace,” which not only means they are a deliberate bunch, but that they make their foes work for a good shot as well.
They do tend not to get out to the perimeter with a lot of effectiveness, as they’ve allowed almost 38% from downtown, but they’re not generous with regard to second chances (third best defensive rebounding team in the NBA).
Now, on short rest, by bubble standards, they take on the Boston Celtics
At BetAnySports, the Celtics are 3.5-point favorites, with a posted total of 221.5 points.
It is true that this is an ensemble effort; even though Jimmy Butler is by far the most decorated name, his Usage figure is actually only 25.2, which on this team is second to Goran Dragic, who makes his presence felt in a big way off the bench (27.7 points per 100 possessions).
They shocked a little in their re-opener, as they smoked Denver by twenty points, holding the Nuggets to just 23% shooting from beyond the arc, which is surprising, given the pertinent numbers we showed you above.
It was business as usual for some of the team’s sharpshooters, including the undrafted Duncan Robinson, who is almost 45% from three-point territory, and key veteran pickup Jae Crowder, who got the start and made three triples. If they can continue to get explosions off the bench like they got from Kelly Olynyk (20 points, with 4-of-6 triples) they are even more dangerous.
The Heat had a rather tight one with Toronto on Monday afternoon, losing 107-103. Dragic once again made his bench minutes count, with 25 points. Olynyk had four more triples. They fell victim to two things – a poor shooting day from their backcourt, as Robinson and his fellow non-draftee, Kendrick Nunn, made one of 12 combined field goal attempts, and 36 points from red-hot Fred VanVleet.
Boston just escaped the other night after blowing a big lead against Portland, but the fact of the matter is that they have had the benefit of extra rest, and the back-to-back situations are the exception reather than the rule in the bubble. With Kemba Walker set to play more and more (he’s been on a minutes restriction), we may distance ourselves from the Heat, who have gone 15-20 when not at the American Airlines Arena. Let’s lay the points here.
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