In the Orlando Magic‘s loss against the Miami Heat on Friday, a six-point halftime deficit ballooned to 20 points in the span of roughly three minutes during the third quarter. It was a haymaker that served as a knockout blow for the Magic, and it had to everything to do with the Heat’s defense which was devastating in its own right. Everyone marvel’s at the offensive firepower of James, Wade, and Bosh, but sometimes people forget that they’re pretty good defenders too. Bosh gets pegged, unfairly, as a bad defender but watch him in the 2008 Summer Olympics and it becomes clear that in the right defensive scheme, he can be a net positive on defense. As for James and Wade, they love to roam defensively and wreak havoc whenever possible.
During Miami’s 14-0 run, there was little Orlando could to do create on offense. One of the main things that stands out from the Heat is not only their pick and roll coverage, which was superb, but just their swarming team defense. Miami has a lot of athletic players on the roster and that makes for a stingy set of defenders. The Magic learned that the hard way as they had to take difficult shot after difficult shot and dig themselves deep in a hole they couldn’t get out of. It’s easy to criticize Orlando for not running enough pick and rolls, for example, but they were having little success when they tried. The Heat’s defensive rotations were fantastic.
And watch James on defense — he was everywhere.