The Washington Post

Spurs ball movement will be key against the Heat’s pressure defense

(Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

The San Antonio Spurs may have already won the series in the hearts and minds of the people and machines but don’t count out the Miami Heat just yet, especially when they thrive on generating points in transition – especially after forcing the opposing team into committing a turnover.

During the regular season they scored 19.3 points per game off turnovers, second most in the league after the Los Angeles Clippers (19.5 per game). In the postseason the Heat have seen that dip slightly to 17.2 points per game, but LeBron James leads all players in the Finals with 5.5 points per game off turnovers.

That means San Antonio will need to be more consistent with ball movement in this series against the Heat, starting with how they attack Chris Bosh on the pick and roll.

According to Synergy Sports, opposing teams were able to shoot 41.8 percent from the field but a whopping 64.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc over the regular season where Chris Bosh was the main point of attack. Here it is working for David West of the Indiana Pacers during the Eastern Conference Finals, who ends up hitting this long jumper.

Bosh vs West on pick and roll during 2014 Eastern Conference Finals

Look for San Antonio to drag Bosh out and force him to keep Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili from getting into the paint, as each are in the top 10 for team points per game off drives in these playoffs.

Then, using their ball movement, the Spurs can help generate an open look, like they did below for big man Tim Duncan during the 2013 NBA Finals.

Bosh vs Duncan on pick and roll during 2013 NBA Finals

The Heat are as athletic as any team in the NBA, and if the Spurs want to stop them from becoming a dynasty it is going to start with crisp ball movement against Miami’s pressure defense.


Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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