Thursday, October 28, 2010

One Down, 74 To Go: Miami Heat Beat Philadelphia 76ers For Their First Win

After getting a beatdown in Beantown from the Boston Celtics, it was another day and Dwyane Wade dominated just like his new commercial said he would.  The artist formerly known as Flash painted a 30-point, 7-rebound, 4-assist, 3-steal, 2-block masterpiece in the Illadelph to get the Heat their first win this season.

This article will use Win Score and Estimated Wins Produced, statistical models created by Professor David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's boxscore statistics contributed to their team's performance.  An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (EWP48), a star player produces 0.200+ EWP48 and a superstar produces 0.300+ EWP48. More information on these stats can be found at the following links:

Game Recap
Wade exceeded the superstar threshold and reached that Magic Johnson/Michael Jordan level of greatness against the Sixers by producing 0.505 EWP48.  Dominate Another Day? Indeed.  After a terrible first quarter (-0.164 EWP48), Wade did most of his damage in the second and third quarters when the Heat outscored the Sixers by 18 with him on the floor.  Wade produced nearly 50% of Miami's Estimated Wins Produced (EWP) in 17.6 minutes across those two quarters, essentially closing the coffin lid on the Sixers.

If Wade closed the coffin in the second and third quarters, James Jones nailed it shut.  He hit six of seven three-pointers in those two quarters. Together, Wade and Jones provided 90% of Miami's Estimated Wins Produced in those two quarters.  The figure below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the game's boxscore (the top two players and worst player for each team are highlighted) or you can view it at Google Docs by clicking on the spreadsheet labeled @PHI-102710.

Once again, Chris Bosh got off to a good start in the first quarter.  In fact, he was the only one of the Three Kings that made a positive contribution in the first quarter for the second consecutive game.  He was twice as productive as he was against Boston in the game's first 12 minutes with 1.212 EWP48 against the Sixers frontline compared to 0.627 EWP48 against the Celtics frontline.  He scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter but didn't make any positive contributions after that with -0.119 EWP48 in each of the next three quarters. Overall, he ended the game with numbers worthy of a star (0.211 EWP48), but the way Elton Brand attacked him was a little concerning.

Brand attacked Bosh as if he thought he had an advantage, but last season he only produced -0.007 EWP48.  I haven't seen Bosh play a lot of games and it made me wonder if Shaq isn't the only big man that views Bosh as RuPaul in the paint.  The strategy worked for Brand and the Sixers, as he outplayed Bosh after the first quarter and produced 0.394 EWP48 for the game.  It's possible Bosh was fatigued on the second night of a back-to-back, but this could be something to keep an eye on moving forward.

More concerning than the Bosh-Brand matchup is LeBron James.  The reigning back-to-back MVP has played consecutive games with negative production. His numbers are down across the board - turnovers (2.5 times more than last season's average), scoring rate (down 25%), assists (down 40%) and rebounds (down 33%).  Miami needs Public Enemy No. 6 to get back to being the King for the Heat to beat the Orlando Magic in Friday's home opener.

The rest of the team's production was up-and-down.  Jerry Stackhouse, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Carlos Arroyo were productive with their minutes, but Joel Anthony, Eddie House and Udonis Haslem were unproductive after providing the bulk of the production against Boston.

Haslem's struggles in this game were interesting.  Many pundits have expressed concern about the Heat's lack of size, but Haslem struggled guarding Thaddeus Young at center in the Sixers small lineup.  Young's speed was simply too much for Haslem.  He couldn't stay in front of Young and stayed in foul trouble, finishing the game with five fouls in 12.7 minutes (four of those five fouls were committed against Young).  Young finished the game with 0.394 EWP48 (last season his WP48 was -0.030).

The Big Picture
The Sixers are an athletic team.  The number of dunks they got against the Heat was impressive.  Their small, athletic lineup with Young and Andres Nocioni in the frontcourt and Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner on the perimeter was +7 to start the fourth quarter.  Turner played like a superstar in his first NBA game producing 0.302 EWP48 and a highlight crossover of Wade as they went head-to-head for a brief stretch in the fourth quarter.  Turner looked like a legit darkhorse for the Rookie of the Year award.

I predicted the Sixers to only win 12 games this season and I felt a little justified after this game.  The production from their lineups was feast or famine against the Heat.  All of the productive players (Brand, Young, Turner and Nocioni) played at a superstar-level (0.300+ EWP48), but the rest of the roster provided negative production.  They're going to need a lot of brotherly love for the Sixers this season.

The Bigger Picture
The Heat continued their trend of third quarter dominance in Philadelphia.  Why is that important?  Here's the explanation from Couper Morehead of

"Two years ago, the best third quarter teams were the Lakers and Celtics, outscoring opponents by 3.1 and 2.4 points, respectively, each team routinely blowing opponents out after halftime. Last year, at +1.7, the best were Orlando and Oklahoma City, with the Lakers again just behind."

After two games, the Heat are +27 in the third quarter.  They've played their best basketball in the third quarter of both games.  I've always thought it was a sign of good coaching when a team goes on runs after timeouts and halftime, so I'll give Spoelstra some credit since I took issue with him after the Celtics game.

Next up for the Heat are the Orlando Magic on Friday. Am I worried? Not at all.

Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from and

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