Tuesday, April 3, 2012

LeBron James and Mario Chalmers Are Keys to Beating 76ers After Sunday's Loss to Celtics


LeBron James and Mario Chalmers' games are the two biggest things the Miami HEAT will fix in practice to beat the Philadelphia 76ers after Sunday's blowout by the Boston Celtics.

This article uses the Estimated Wins Produced stats. An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (Est.WP48). See the HEAT Produced Page for more information.


Bounce Back Ability

Can the Miami HEAT fix everything that looked so broken against the Celtics in one practice? Most likely. The HEAT are 4-2 this season in games played with one day's rest after a loss:

The spreadsheet below summarizes each HEAT player's production in losses except games played after a loss with one day's rest. The key rotation players with the biggest decrease in production from their season averages when the HEAT lose are: 
  • Norris Cole (from -0.038 Est.Wins Produced per 48 minutes to -0.189 Est.WP48),
  • Chris Bosh (from 0.116 Est.WP48 to -0.097 Est.WP48), 
  • Mario Chalmers (from 0.166 Est.WP48 to -0.018 Est.WP48) and 
  • LeBron James (from 0.300 Est.WP48 to 0.186 Est.WP48).


The spreadsheet below shows that LeBron (0.315 Est.WP48), Bosh (0.222 Est.WP48) and Chalmers (0.214 Est.WP48) are the three most productive HEAT players in games played with one day's rest after a loss. That's how the HEAT got a 4-2 record in those situations - those three players improved their games.


The Celtics Loss

As the spreadsheet below shows, Chalmers (-0.227 Est.WP48) and Bosh (-0.112 Est.WP48) were the two least productive rotation players in Boston on Sunday and LeBron (0.061 Est.WP48) only provided 20% of his usual production. The HEAT won't win many games, if any, against the Celtics if Paul Pierce has more rebounds, steals, assists and trips to the free throw line than LeBron.


As for Chalmers and Bosh... Their awful performances against the Celtics resulted in Rajon Rondo having the most productive game of any player against the HEAT this season and Brandon Bass had the 5th-best performance. The spreadsheet below lists the 5 most productive games by HEAT opponents this season. Four of them have come in the last week.


The 76ers Are the Perfect Trampoline

Few teams are better suited for the HEAT to have a bounce back game against than the Sixers. As the spreadsheet below shows, LeBron (0.379 Est.WP48) and Chalmers (0.384 Est.WP48) have been the two most productive HEAT players by far vs. Doug Collins' squad. Bosh's performance vs. the Sixers is below average this season (0.066 Est.WP48).

The HEAT have dominated the Sixers at three positions in their first three games this season: point guard, small forward and power forward. In addition to Chalmers' 80% shooting efficiency, the HEAT have held Jrue Holiday to just -0.180 Est.WP48 and LeBron has dominated both forward spots. In 20 minutes at power forward over three games vs. the Sixers, LeBron averaged 50.4 points with 80% shooting efficiency, 21.6 rebounds, 12 assists and 9.6 blocks per 48 minutes. Those are Wilt Chamberlain numbers.


Erik Spoelstra may not have gotten the players to fix everything in practice after that embarrassing loss to the Celtics, but it's a good bet that LeBron and Chalmers made the necessary changes to their game to push the HEAT's home winning streak to 16 games.

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