For these two guys of different sizes — one 6-feet and one almost 6-foot-9 — the focus of opposing teams is somewhat similar. Whether you’re playing Chris Paul or LeBron James, the goal is to disrupt what they do best. And what they do best is score the ball and get everyone on the court involved.
“We didn’t want [Paul] to be able to do both,” guard Dwyane Wade said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Coming into last night’s game, James was No. 4 in the league in points (25.6) and tied for sixth with eight assists. Paul, on the other hand, was No. 6 in scoring (24.8) and tops in the NBA in assists with 12.6. They were the only two players in the league to poke their heads into both categories — as well as almost every commercial shown these days.
But by the end of Thursday night, the Miami Heat had executed their plan to perfection. They began by jumping pick-and-rolls and swarming the Los Angeles Clippers guard every time his tips touched the rock. The focus was to get the ball out of Paul’s hands, and the Heat did so with double- and at times triple-teams that frustrated the floor general, which showed in his 3-of-11 shooting and his assists-free 10:15 in the third quarter.
Regardless of whether Paul wants to give credit or not, the fact still remains that difference between the two teams is Miami’s ability to lock an offense down with their defensive intensity. If you don’t believe me, ask Doc Rivers, who told ESPN: “They’re too good with a set defense. We allowed them to set their defense. That’s when all the turnovers came.”
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