Thursday, June 7, 2012

LeBron James & Dwyane Wade: Can It Be All So Simple in Game 6?

Can the analysis for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals be this simple for the Miami HEAT? The Three Kings need to produce like the stars they've been their whole careers.

Analysis of the HEAT's production in the last 3 games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics revealed a simple problem: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were not productive enough players. That's something they can fix themselves to force a Game 7 in spite of any tactical blunders Erik Spoelstra will might make with Chris Bosh playing time or the rest of the rotation.

This article uses Estimated Wins Produced, a stat created by sports economist David Berri that measures how much a player's stats from the box score contribute to their team's winning. An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (est.WP48). Star players produce 0.200 est.WP48 and great players produce 0.300 est.WP48. See the HEAT Produced Page for more info.

HEAT Produced for Games 3-5 of Eastern Conference Finals
The spreadsheet below lists the production by the HEAT and Celtics in the last 3 games of the series.

Three Kings? Watch the Throne
LeBron and Wade didn't produce like stars in the last three games and the HEAT simply can't win if they don't.

LeBron produced 0.140 est.WP48 in Games 3-5, but he produced an average of 0.270 est.WP48 in every other game against the Celtics this season. The HEAT need LeBron to dominate his position the way Rajon Rondo dominated the PG matchup in this series, but he has not done that in the last three games. The dip in LeBron's production and the existence of Shaved Monkey Nuts aka Shane Battier (-0.085 est.WP48) has resulted in the HEAT being limited to 0.050 est.WP48 at PF.

Wade's production was a below average 0.088 est.WP48 in the last 3 games, but he's produced an average of 0.122 est.WP48 in every other game against the Celtics this season. The HEAT need Wade to dominate his matchup with Ray Allen, but he actually lost it over the last 3 games with Allen producing 0.110 est.WP48.

If LeBron and Wade's production simply returns to "normal" against the Celtics, then the HEAT's chances of winning increases to 55%. They don't even have to play like they did in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers.

If Chris Bosh gets Shaved Monkey Nuts' minutes in the rotation, then the HEAT can't lose. Unfortunately, Coach Spo will probably keep it interesting.

The HEAT won the center matchup (0.124 est.WP48 vs. Celtics' 0.070 est.WP48) with just 14 minutes of Bosh over the last 3 games thanks to Udonis Haslem rebounding production (0.187 est.WP48 in Games 3-5). If Bosh gets the majority of the center minutes and outplays Kevin Garnett like he has 7 of the last 12 times he's played him and UD and LeBron move back to their natural positions at PF and SF, then the HEAT should outplay the Celtics at 4 of the 5 positions with a good effort from Wade.

It's that simple. So simple that even Spo can't screw it up if the players don't.

Of course, if there is a Game 7 then HEAT fans need to read this message before going to American Airlines Arena.

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