April 18, 2011
The Miami Heat got a lot of attention during the regular season for their high-octane offense and all-too-frequent flash, but that running and gunning was fueled by a tenacious defense. Erik Spoelstra's squad posted the league's fifth-best defensive efficiency this season, allowing just a shade over one point per possession and finishing ninth in the league in team blocked shots, which often facilitate easy transition opportunities.
That's exactly what happened during what was, frankly, a difficult-to-watch first half of Game 2 between the second-seeded Heat and the seventh-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in Miami on Tuesday night. Miami held Doug Collins' team to just 31 first-half points; halfway through the third quarter, Philadelphia's effective field goal percentage was still below 30 percent, which you might categorize as a complete and utter offensive apocalypse.
During the particularly memorable second-quarter sequence above, Heat center Joel Anthony(notes) stymied consecutive attempts by Sixers forward Thaddeus Young(notes), sending the second off the backboard. The ever-opportunistic Dwyane Wade(notes) grabbed the carom and immediately turned up-court, taking the middle of the floor and slinging a pass ahead to point guard Mario Chalmers(notes), who had leaked out in transition.
The sole Philadelphia defender in the area, Andre Iguodala(notes), took a step toward Chalmers, leaving the lane wide open for LeBron James(notes), streaking down the right side of the court. All Chalmers had to do was get it near him. Tic-tac-toe.
Too easy, drill sergeant, too easy. And, if both teams' present form holds, 2-0 Heatles. UPDATE: Both teams' forms held.
Original video via Ben Golliver.