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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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2013 NBA Championship Odds and Betting Preview: Miami Heat

The NBA season is right around the corner and the Miami Heat 2013 NBA Championship Odds are currently at 5-2 ($100 bet pays $450). They are 5-6 to win the Eastern Conference and their over/under season win total projection is 61,5. Below is the overall season preview by Pregame Pro André Gomes

Last season was the season where not only Lebron James showed everybody again that he is the best player in the world, but also the season when he was finally able to win a NBA title!

The humiliation suffered by Miami against Dallas in the previous season’s NBA finals made Miami gain an extra motivation to work hard in the offseason and it wasn’t a surprise when Miami started the season very well by completely destroying the champions Mavericks.

2011-12 Regular Season numbers:

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It was interesting to see that Coach Erik Spoelstra implemented some ideas on offense that made the Heat an even more dangerous team in transition and also turn them into one of the teams with the fastest pace on the first month of the season. However, as time went by, Miami started playing slower and slower until becoming the typical half court team that takes well the opportunities to score in transition. The main reason for that was the lack of depth on the roster to play at a frenetic rhythm and the numerous injuries suffered by some key players throughout the season.

Miami Heat month-by-month record:





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Just like it had happened on the previous season, Miami wasn’t able to be very consistent during the regular season by losing at least two games in a row in six different occasions.

Dwayne Wade missed 17 games, Chris Bosh missed 9 games and even Lebron James missed 4 games of the regular season. In the middle of the season, Coach Spoelstra lost his trust on Joel Anthony and relegated him onto the bench. To replace him, Spoelstra made some experiments with Ronny Turiaf, Udonis Haslem and even Dexter Pittman!

On the playoffs, Miami quickly destroyed the Knicks in the first round just to see Chris Bosh getting injured and become questionable for the remaining of the postseason. Miami had a lot of problems in stopping the starting lineup of Indiana until Lebron James and Dwayne Wade started playing at a whole new level, especially on the game 4 of that series, where Wade scored 30 points and James had 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists.

Against Boston in the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat struggled again and they played an elimination game in Boston that could have ended with this actual era in Miami, but Lebron James had other plans and had one of the best individual performances ever on the playoffs with 45 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists. On the decisive game at home and already with Chris Bosh playing major minutes, the Heat destroyed the Celtics on the second half of that game.

In the finals, Spoelstra was brilliant on the gameplan he used against Oklahoma City. The Thunder have a good frontcourt with Perkins and Ibaka, but it is limited offensively and Spoelstra had no problems in putting Lebron James in the PF position, as the Heat never had to worry a lot about the Thunder’s frontcourt was going to do offensively, even though they had a clear edge. For several moments we saw Perkins being defended by Battier without the Thunder being able to take advantage of this physical mismatch.

Offensively, James looked more focused than ever in attacking the basket and especially in operating more near the basket in order to attract the attention of Oklahoma City to double team him. James then used his superior court vision to find his teammate that was left wide open and the Heat capitalized on that by being red hot behind the arc. Lebron James made the same kind of passes that he had made in the previous season’s finals against Dallas, but the difference was that Miami shot 42-98 (42.8%) 3pts against the Thunder, while they had shot 45-130 (34.6%) 3pts against the Mavs.

Offseason moves 2012-13:

Pat Riley kept all the pieces that were important for the title win last season. There was the doubt if Mike Miller was going to retire, considering his recurring back problems, but Miller decided to play one more season.

For this new style of the Heat, the “small ball” will be an evident feature in Miami. Chris Bosh will play in the center position and Lebron James will play major minutes in the PF position. It was evident in the final against Oklahoma City that the Heat will have a lot of chances from scoring on the outside due to Lebron James’ actions near the basket and with that, Pat Riley wanted to improve the outside shooting skills of the team.

With that, he “seduced” Ray Allen to join the Heat, while receiving less money that he would receive if he had remained in Boston. Also Rashard Lewis signed with the team and if Lewis is able to play at the same level he played in Orlando with Howard, then Miami will have another deadly shooter on his roster. Without these two players, Miami didn’t have any other relevant change.


The beginning of a dynasty?

This “new” small ball system of Miami is incredibly efficient on a league that actually doesn’t have a lot of physically dominant “bigs” capable of dominating in both ends of the floor.

In the Eastern conference, Boston will also play with an undersized frontcourt, Lopez and Humphries are far from forming a dominant frontcourt, Amare Stoudemire is never at 100% and only Andrew Bynum can be dangerous to the Hets, but imagine Bynum on a series against Miami running up and down the floor in full speed in a potential seven games series…

On this new era for Miami, only the Bulls with their great defensive frontcourt was able to give a good fight to Miami due to a huge domination on rebounding, but Derrick Rose may never be the “real” Derrick Rose again.

In the Western conference, Oklahoma City will maintain the same unidimensional frontcourt that they had last season, so Miami won’t have problems in facing them again in the same way they did in last season’s finals. The Clippers’ frontcourt is somewhat similar to Oklahoma City’s; San Antonio plays small ball just like the Heat and the only teams that seem able to pound Miami down low are the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Memphis won two of the three games against Miami over the last two seasons, but they need more backcourt talent to go deep on their own conference, so it’s up to the Lakers with Dwight Howard at 100% that may be able to take advantage of Miami’s problems in the interior game to pound them on the down low with Gasol and Howard.

Dwayne Wade seems to be totally recovered from his knee issues, Chris Bosh refused to go to the Olympic Games to fully recover from the effort he made last season and Lebron James doesn’t have the pressure on his shoulders anymore from never having won a title on his career.

The best player in the league has all the conditions to keep dominating and this time he will even have better perimeter shooters that will thank for his passes where they’ll completely wide open on the outside.

Ray Allen is their biggest signing for this season and he will give the Heat one of the best shooters of all time, assuming that Allen is completely recovered from the physical problems he had last season. Miami didn’t have a lot of lot plays based on offscreens with just 4.8% of volume, while being the 17th most effective team in those plays with 0.86 PPP. But Allen’s presence should allow Miami to also improve this season on this kind of plays. 

Miami has a lot of good options on the backcourt and it will be up to Spoelstra to find the best rotation in the different moments of the games.

Chris Bosh will definitely be the team’s center of this team and this will make Miami to surely be away from the top of the best rebounding teams in the league. Last season Miami was #16 on rebounding% and I don’t believe that they will improve on this area this season.


Final Thoughts

Miami will surely be one of the best offensive teams on the league and the same can be said about them on defense, given the dedication that Lebron, Wade and Bosh have been putting on the defensive end since they started playing together.

The problem in terms of rebounding will exist, but teams won’t take advantage of that very well by their opponents, excluding teams like Indiana, Memphis, the Lakers or Chicago. Miami has been a good team during the regular season, but they are yet to be the “best team” during the regular season, something that Lebron James managed to be in Cleveland. This will be one of their challenges for the next season: dominate the regular season.

In the playoffs, no other team played as many games as Miami over the last two seasons, so we are dealing with a very experienced group on these high caliber games and they will be favored to win any series on their conference. Any result but a repeat of last year’s title will be a disappointment for Miami, considering the talent they have, and I couldn’t agree more with them.

Follow Andre Gomes on Twitter @GomesCapper

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My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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