Miami Heat's Defensive Struggles vs. Golden State Warriors A Cause For Concern?

By Shane Phillips
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry was unconscious Thursday night, going 8-of-15 from the 3-point line and 13-of-22 overall for a total of 36 points. He also added 12 assists and four steals as the Golden State Warriors spanked the Miami Heat 123-114. The Warriors played strong, leading most of the game and even stretched the gap to 15 in the second half. For Miami, it was their worst defensive performance of the season, giving up a season-high in points in a game, half and quarter.

The Heat played well offensively, shooting 51 percent from the field and 44 percent from deep, but the Warriors shot better and made the champs’ defense look pathetic. Golden State shoot a very impressive 51.7 percent from the 3-point line and 56 percent overall. It is uncharacteristic of the Miami defense to allow such high numbers. On the season, they only allow 98 points per game, good enough for ninth in the NBA.

Although these numbers may seem alarming, the underlying theme here is that teams who live by the three die by the three. We have seen a similar story before. Both the Indiana Pacers and the San Antonio Spurs used the deep ball to nearly dethrone Miami. Paul George and George Hill both shot well from range in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals and Danny Green broke a handful of finals records.

The 3-pointer is a double-edged sword, so it doesn’t worry me as much as the Heat’s lack of interior game. Not only did Curry light it up, but David Lee pushed around Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and any other big man Miami threw at him. Lee had 32 points and 14 rebounds while Bosh had a puny four boards and 19 points.

Chalmers lead the Heat in rebounding with seven. Once again, it all comes back to rebounding and the interior game. Had the defending champs played better inside, they could have overcome the barrage of 3s from the Warriors.

There will be nights where the bucket is 5-feet wide for the opponent and Miami can’t seem to catch a break, but there are other ways to make up for it. If a three-peat is destined for the South Beach franchise, then they will find a way to win when everything seems to be going wrong.

Shane Phillips is a Miami Heat Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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