Heat at Blazers – How Portland Won Down The Stretch

January 14, 2013
LaMarcus Aldridge shoots a fade away against the Miami Heat (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

LaMarcus Aldridge shoots a fade away against the Miami Heat (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers used stifling defense to come from behind and eke out a close 92-90 win over the Miami Heat.

Both teams play very good defense in their own way. The Heat do an incredible job putting pressure on the ball, rotating, and closing out. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade anchor the defense and use their length and athleticism to recover and create havoc. Part of the strength of this defense, quickness and speed, may also be hurting the Heat. By going small with James at power forward and Chris Bosh at center, the Heat are short a big man. This is good for covering perimeter players but leaves them vulnerable to interior penetration and offensive rebounds.

Similarly, the Trail Blazers have strong wing players, Wesley Matthews and Nicholas Batum, to anchor the defense. They rotate very well and disrupt many of the sets the Heat try to run. However, in many cases we just see the Heat missing shots, throwing the ball away, or dribbling too much.

There’s not much separating both teams here but for some tough shots the Trail Blazers made and some key misses by the Heat. One minor difference is that the Heat keep a perimeter offense with primarily pick-and-roll offense. While the Trail Blazer’s do go to LaMarcus Aldridge in the post. In this case, post play may have been the more successful strategy against small and athletic defenses.

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Coach Nick is the founder of BballBreakdown and a former high school varsity basketball coach. Follow Coach Nick on Twitter, @BballSource.

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  1. I believe with the defense of players like Matthews and Batum is enough.. Great effort Blazers!.. Way to go!

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