(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Miami Heat appear to be scoring at will during these NBA playoffs. They are putting up 113.7 points per 100 possessions in the postseason and have decimated two of the best defenses in the league: Charlotte Bobcats, whom the Heat swept out of the first round by scoring 109.8 points per 100 possessions and the Indiana Pacers, who yielded 114.3 points per 100 possessions to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.


Shot chart for Miami Heat in 2013-14 NBA Playoffs

The Heat’s offense is at its best when it “goes small” and have just one big man (Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen or Udonis Haslem) on the court. And it has been especially prolific with Ray Allen on the floor – their 119.7 points per 100 possessions is the highest on-court fffensive rating of any player that has logged at least 20 minutes per game in five or more playoff games.

As you would expect, putting Allen on the court with Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James causes good things to happen.

Going small against San Antonio helps neutralize their best defensive lineup, because it is likely means Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich will split up Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan and give more minutes to Boris Diaw.

2-man Lineup in 2013-14 NBA Playoffs DefRtg Opp eFG% Opp OREB%
Duncan.Tim – Splitter.Tiago 95.8 44.6% 24.5%
Leonard.Kawhi – Splitter.Tiago 96.4 45.5% 24.8%
Parker.Tony – Splitter.Tiago 96.8 44.9% 24.9%
Green.Danny – Splitter.Tiago 96.8 45.7% 27.4%
Duncan.Tim – Green.Danny 97.0 45.9% 26.9%
Green.Danny – Leonard.Kawhi 97.9 45.9% 27.6%
Duncan.Tim – Ginobili.Manu 100.0 47.8% 21.2%
Duncan.Tim – Leonard.Kawhi 100.3 46.8% 24.5%
Ginobili.Manu – Leonard.Kawhi 100.3 47.2% 22.0%
Green.Danny – Parker.Tony 101.1 46.5% 29.3%
Leonard.Kawhi – Parker.Tony 101.2 47.0% 25.2%
Ginobili.Manu – Parker.Tony 102.0 48.8% 22.2%
Duncan.Tim – Parker.Tony 104.1 48.4% 25.4%
Diaw.Boris – Mills.Patty 105.0 52.2% 22.8%
Diaw.Boris – Ginobili.Manu 108.0 52.5% 24.6%
Diaw.Boris – Parker.Tony 108.2 51.4% 27.6%
Diaw.Boris – Leonard.Kawhi 108.8 52.0% 25.9%
Diaw.Boris – Duncan.Tim 109.3 52.6% 26.1%
Source: NBA Stats

The way Miami can exploit Splitter is to use the spot-up jumper like Bosh did in March with Splitter as his defender. Notice all the daylight Bosh has to work.


Chris Bosh vs. Tiago Splitter, March 6 2014

According to Synergy Sports, the opposition scored on 46.1 percent of the spot-up jumpers taken against Splitter during the regular season – the second highest to the pick-and-roll among any set plays run at least 50 times against – and had a field goal percentage of 46.3 percent.

Size does matter and going small can make all the difference in Miami’s quest for a three-peat.