Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat


San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat 7:00 CST March 14, 2011

Just 10 days ago, the Spurs turned a highly anticipated matchup with the Heat into a 125-95three point shooting exhibition, led by Matt Bonner. Before the game, some considered this a potential finals preview. At the time the Spurs and Heat were 1st and 2nd in SRS rankings, respectively. The Heat proceeded to lose their next two games, completing a 5 game skid. After reeling off two impressive wins in the last 5 days, the Heat appear back on track. The two teams once again rank 1 and 2 in the SRS rankings.

Despite losing by 30, the Heat were able to get near the rim. Lebron made 7 of 10 from inside 10 feet and Wade scored 6 of 8 from this range. (Wade did only attempt 2 free throws and create one assist to go with 5 turnovers.) However, the Spurs did a good job enticing the Heat to take a lot of long two’s. The Heat attempting 29 shots from 16-23 feet, making 13. By comparison, the Spurs attempted 9 long two’s (making 4). San Antonio also attempted more threes (28-20). In addition, the Spurs assisted 16 of their 17 three point scores. Although we can’t expect the Spurs to make threes at that rate and pace, it should be promising that they were able to create so many open looks.

Tony Parker’s made a surprise appearance in the first meeting, playing much before his anticipated return date. He was a significant factor for the Spurs getting to the rim and sucking in the Heat’s defense. Parker created 4 layups off the dribble and made all 7 of his free throws. Tim Duncan was also significant offensively, scoring 5 field goals from close range (3 unassisted) to go with 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili also distributed an impressive 5 assists on layups or dunks. Of course, Bonner’s 6 of 7 three point shooting were pretty significant and Novak, Hill, Jefferson, Ginobili and Neal were also efficient from that range. The Spurs three point preference also made it easier to take care of the ball. They committed only 8 turnovers.

The Spurs also enjoyed success defending the pick and roll in this game. Miami scored just 12 points on 22 ball handler possessions and 5 points on 7 plays to the roll man. The Heat ran a ton of screens, but scored only 12 points on 16 such plays. The Spurs defense managed to hold the Heat to merely 9 fast break points in 11 opportunities. The Spurs fast break contributed 16 points on 12 transition plays. The Spurs didn’t run the pick and roll with their typical regularity, but when they did, it was effective. 13 ballhandler possessions created 18 points while 9 passes to the roll man led to 10 more points. The area that the Spurs held the biggest edge, however, was obviously spot ups. The Spurs made an incredible 13 of 19 three point spot ups leading to 48 points on 27 spot up chances.

Miami’s Point Guard Situaion

One interesting thing to consider for this game is the Heat’s point guard situation. I suspected that the Heat shouldn’t want a point who dominates the ball. After all, Wade has never played with as dynamic a passer as James and James can probably say the same about Wade. Additionally, both players like to create off the dribble. Doing a quick check of Miami’s point differential with respective point guards this season, we find that the numbers seem to back my initial suspicion… probably…

House +12.1 per 48 in 525 minutes
Chalmers +8.4 in 1808 minutes
Wade +8.2 in 182 minutes
Arroyo +7.0 in 981 minutes
Bibby +3.1 in 119 minutes

For lineups with multiple players above, the order of PG preference was Chalmers, Bibby, Arroyo, House and Wade.

Surprisingly, the team has done slightly better with Chalmers at point than Wade. However, Wade has only played 182 minutes at point guard.

House might be the Heat’s most dangerous option at point guard, since he is the most deadly 3 point weapon of the group. He is better as a three point specialist than a ball handler.

The Heat lost their first 4 games after acquiring Bibby, but he seems to be adjusting to the team in recent games.

If you haven’t already seen it, here is a link to my” target=”_blank”>advanced scouting report on the Heat.

Key Statistics

SRS ranks:

Miami: 6.36 (2nd)
San Antonio: 6.59 (1st)

Player summary statistics from and

Heat Player Ratings 3-14

PlayerGMPGUSG%OrtgDRtgWS/482 Yr APM
LeBron James6438.531.61151020.23513.48
Dwyane Wade6237.231.91121020.2039.41
Chris Bosh6236.223.31121030.1633.27
Udonis Haslem1326.514.81101020.13-2.51
Mario Chalmers6023151061040.101-7.62
Mike Bibby621.310.91281090.136-0.72
Mike Miller2920.714.71071030.107-1.95
Carlos Arroyo4920.313.91071090.077-8.07
Joel Anthony6019.84.81181040.101-3.53
James Jones6518.712.41261070.1441.64
Eddie House4717.716.91121060.117-4.95
Zydrunas Ilgauskas6216.715.51071010.121-3.62
Erick Dampier3915.97.41141030.113-3.64
Juwan Howard4510.612.1991050.064-6.86

Spurs Player Ratings 3-14

PlayerGMPGUSG%OrtgDRtgWS/482 Yr APM
Tony Parker6432.225.21141060.168-0.81
Manu Ginobili6630.926.31161040.2035.21
Richard Jefferson6530.915.51161070.122-1.04
Tim Duncan6628.622.9109990.1676.24
George Hill6028.117.81161060.141-1.59
DeJuan Blair662220.4106990.141-0.06
Matt Bonner5021.812.81321070.1663.54
Gary Neal6420.520.31101080.107-0.93
Antonio McDyess6017.9151051020.1062.59
James Anderson1712.814.61121090.091N/A
Tiago Splitter4611.217.61111030.138N/A
Steve Novak126.714.81421090.199N/A
Chris Quinn396.616.3961090.029N/A

Player trends, based on Efficiency per 48 minutes:

Heat Player Trends 3-14

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Mario Chalmers16.4192.6
LeBron James34.7361.3
Erick Dampier16.717.60.9
Mike Bibby8.48.40
Joel Anthony13.813.3-0.5
Juwan Howard15.614.5-1.1
Dwyane Wade31.129.1-2
Chris Bosh2622.1-3.9
Mike Miller19.215.1-4.1
Zydrunas Ilgauskas22.513.8-8.7
Eddie House16.77.7-9
James Jones15.44.8-10.6

Spurs Player Trends 3-14

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Gary Neal19.125.66.5
Tiago Splitter22.124.32.2
Matt Bonner20.523.32.8
Manu Ginobili28.530.11.6
Steve Novak20.620.4-0.2
Antonio McDyess22.920.9-2
DeJuan Blair27.927.2-0.7
Tony Parker27.426.5-0.9
Tim Duncan32.631-1.6
George Hill22.418.2-4.2
Richard Jefferson17.914.1-3.8
James Anderson13.910.4-3.5
Chris Quinn12.34.3-8

Lineup data

Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Arroyo, Wade, James, Bosh, Ilgauskas +103 in 428 minutes (+10.5 per 100 possessions)
Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, Dampier +58 in 222 minutes (+13.2 per 100)
House, Wade, James, Bosh, Anthony +37 in 45 minutes (+43.7 per 100)

Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Blair, Duncan +147 in 669 minutes (+10.4 per 100)
Hill, Neal, Ginobili, Bonner, McDyess +65 in 101 minutes (+35.3 per 100)

The Pick


The Spurs basically have home court sealed up, but I suspect this is too early for Coach Pop to start resting his core players. Regardless, I suspect that the Heat’s home court advantage will be enough to favor them tonight.

  • ITGuy

    I agree that the home court advantage will be the difference in this game just like it helped the Spurs in the last game against them.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • James Alexander

    This game will be a finals preview.Expect Miami to run alot of Pick And Rolls with Chalmers and Bibby, to Chris Bosh. Expect the Spurs to continue to rotate amd swing the ball into corner threes. Expect the two Miami superstars, James and Wade, to attack the basket, draw fouls, and finish for and- 1’s. I do expect that homecourt advantage will help the Heat tonight. Three keys for each team: Heat 1.Let James and Wade run the offense while using Chalmers and Bibby for spotup 3’s. 2. Focus on turning defense into quick transition baskets including 3’s from Mike Miller when he’s on the floor.3.If the Spurs start to get that rythem of Tim Duncan posting up then the quick rotation of the ball into isolation for a corner 3, call a timeout. Spurs: 1. Use your size advantage down low to your advantage to get early fouls on Chris Bosh and get Tim Duncan to the line. 2. Use the isolation for a corner 3 early to catch the Heat of guard and get a lead. 3. Do not form a stagnant offense, for misses will turn into easy transition baskets. My prediction: Spurs 101 Heat 106

  • Carlos Martin

    GO SPURS !!!!!!!!!

    Beat the queens of the beach

  • joe

    Just wondering why it seems lately you guys only post an article once a day? Isn’t there a lot more to talk about rather than “advanced scouting report?”

    I want some more Spurs news!

  • Timothy Varner

    The short answer is that we all have careers and families and classes and more immediate priorities. This blog is a labor of love, not a job. Although, I should say, the last two weeks have been especially busy for all of us. We’ll be posting more regularly, and with a greater diversity of posts, from here forward.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Timothy Varner,

    And damn good job your doing I must say. I enjoy this post more than the crappy rags this town puts out.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Timothy Varner

    Actually its the blog I enjoy as well as posting. It’s good entertainment. That’s what I meant. Keep up the good work anyhow.

  • Bob

    I think Pop has changed his philosophy about resting players. I think he said they worked harder on having better conditioning so it’s less necessary. It’s why Duncan hasn’t had any games off. I am not sure it works all that well. It’s better to have the conditioning to be able to play. Plus the league looks down on it.

  • Alix Babaie

    I predict the Spurs will win by 10 tonight, 104-94.

  • JTEX

    Well it’s not like the Spurs don’t know what to expect. If the can run on the Heat, they should be able to win, slowing it down to a half court game, will not be good for the Spurs! The old bait them into making stupid/flagrant files, is something to think about, but for the most part Pop is all business!

  • Peter

    Not saying its a bad prediction, but how significant is home court advantage when our road record is better than their home record? Or is this an example of win/loss record being deceiving?

  • zainn

    Well if this is gonna be a finals preview, and everyone will still hate the heat by then, then more people rooting for the spurs! FINALLY!

  • DorieStreet

    @ Timothy Varner

    Your quantity (and quality) is fine; plenty of places for joe to go & get more information/views–the official team site, the list you always provide of the dozen+ other fan blogs. (Thank you for that.)

    Don’t have HCA quite wrapped up yet–seems the view on this post is 50-50 for a loss tonight, with the next game @ Mavs a possibility of only the 2nd 2game losing streak this season. Lakers play the rest of this month at Staples (7 games; Mavs have 9, but it’s 2A/3H/4A).
    Spurs have 9 games left in March – 2A/2H/3A/2H. If Spurs get to 60 wins before 16 losses (go (9-3) then spot #1 is in the bag.

    Should be a good contest (I expect score to be in the 90’s). Will have to endure the commentary & dialog while watching-the “Heat Index” is an ESPN creation- but I’ll trade it for a very good effort on defense by the Spurs, which results in a win.

  • Hobson13

    This will be a tough game since the Heat seem to have some of their mojo back. I’m not sure if the Spurs treat this as a playoff game and come out serious or they concede the game like they did with the Lakers. If we can slow the game down, not let Wade and James run wild on the break, and force them to shoot contested jumpers then we’ll have a chance. I would be satisfied with a good defensive game even if we lost by 5.

  • DBAGuy

    Lets win tonight and give away the game against the Mavs so they get home advantage against Lakers…

  • DorieStreet

    @ James Alexander

    Good take on tonight’s matchup–but I feel the score stays in the 90’s.

    @ joe

    Plenty of places to get Spurs news/information. The official team site; local newspaper sports & spurs site; the dozen+ sites 48moh lists next to each post.

    @ Timothy Varner

    Quantity- and quality- is very good; you get some entertainment as well as information, as blogger Titletown99030507d mentioned earlier. Other topics come up in a single post that generate responses. And dare I bring it up- let tonight’s action follow the script of a Sunday afternoon not to long ago and we’ll see another 3day, 200+ entries on the game recap tonight.

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