Miami Heat Stat Monkey Brief: Heat/Pacers (1/8/13)
In what was no doubt a direct response to my article detailing the offensive rebounding problems of the Heat, Miami thrashed the Wizards on Sunday. More notably, Miami was dominant on the glass. They pulled in 25.6 percent of available offensive rebounds and 80 percent of available defensive rebounds. It is also possible that Miami’s great performance might also have had something to do with the fact that they were facing the team that by every subjective or objective metric, including our nERD rankings, is the worst team in the league.
No Easy Shots
Tonight Miami faces the Pacers, the team that leads the league in defensive efficiency with a mark of 98.9 points per 100 possessions. The Pacers are not particularly skilled in forcing turnovers, as they are the 26th ranked team in turnover percentage. However, they are spectacular in preventing opponents from taking easy shots. Teams shoot an effective field goal percentage of 44.5 percent, easily the most impressive team in the league in this regard.
Over the season, Miami has shot the best effective field goal percentage with 55.4 percent, so it will be interesting to see if good defense can beat good offense here. On the other side of the ball, the Pacers have the second worst offense in the league, scoring only 100.5 points per 100 possessions, so Miami should be able to contain them effectively.
An effective performance against the Pacers would go much further than the one against the Wizards if the Heat truly want to rebrand themselves as an effective rebounding team. Indiana is sixth in the league in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 74.5 percent of those available. Those potential extra possessions will be key in determining the outcome of this game.
The X-factor in this game is one of the least hyped players in the league compared to his performance. Under the radar, George Hill of the Indiana Pacers is having a great season. So far by our nERD rankings, he has amassed a ranking of 8.5, the best of any guard in the Eastern Conference. If the Pacers hope to pull off this upset, he will be key.