Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HEAT Check: No Rest 'Til London

The Spurs and the Thunder give the Miami HEAT two big reasons to play Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh as much as possible down the stretch. They can rest at the 2012 Olympics in London. It's not like they're getting paid for it.

No Rest 'Til London

The HEAT will need home-court advantage to beat the Thunder or Spurs in the Finals so the HEAT stars need to play if they're healthy and secure the best record possible.

Home court advantage comes from the influence of the home crowd on the refs. There are Four Factors for winning a basketball game (in order of importance): Shooting, Turnovers, Offensive Rebounds and Free Throws. Free throws are directly controlled by the refs and turnovers are partially controlled by them.

Four Factors vs. Spurs and Thunder
The HEAT are better than the Spurs in the two least important factors: rebounding and free throws. The HEAT are only better than the Thunder in one factor: turnovers.

The HEAT will need every advantage they can get if they face the Spurs or Thunder in the Finals. They can't afford to risk their free throw advantage over the Spurs by not getting calls in San Antonio and they will need home-court to even out the Thunder's free throw advantage. Thunder took 9 more free throws than the HEAT in OKC (made 5 more) and the 9 less free throws than the HEAT in Miami (made 8 less).

Here's how the Four Factors breakdown...

The Spurs and Thunder both shoot better than the HEAT.

The HEAT are worse than the Spurs in turnovers but better than the Thunder.

The HEAT rebound better than the Spurs but worse than the Thunder.

The HEAT make more free throws than the Spurs but less than the Thunder.

Of course, if the reserves can pull off a performance like Eddie House and the Dress Coders in Toronto last  season, then this is all moot...

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