The Scout: Advancing Heat at Mavs

A exclusive, and new regular feature: Kyle Leath, a long-time Mavs staffer, former college head coach and now scout for the Denver Nuggets, provides you with an NBA-style scouting report before Mavs games. Inside, a scout's look at today's Heat-at-Dallas game ... including 'How To Beat The Heat':

Before we get to the facts, a re-set of the festive mood:

Now down to business ...

Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Probable starters:

HEAT 0-0 MAVS 0-0

F- LeBron James F- Shawn Marion

F- Chris Bosh F- Dirk Nowitzki

C- Joel Anthony C- Brendan Haywood

G-Dwyane Wade G- Vince Carter

G- Mario Chalmers G- Jason Kidd


• Obviously, with the limited pre-season, much of the early scouting reports will be based on the previous season, especially in the case of a team like Miami which returns virtually the same team as the Mavericks saw in The Finals back in June.

• The Heat are not a high-volume fast-break team, but when they do get out and run they are extremely high-percentage with Wade and James leading the way. Shooting a high-percentage from the field naturally lessens the run out opportunities.

• When the numbers break is not available, they flow into a lot of drag screens (using Anthony, Halsem, Howard to set high/mid ball screens)

• In the half-court, Miami will use several down screens and motion looks. They also like to use side-pick/roll actions.

• Wade is very active in posting up to take advantage of smaller defenders. James has supposedly committed to doing more of the same which could be difficult to handle. See video:

• Bosh will get a lot of touches as a second option in most set plays. He likes the ball at the elbow and can be very effective when he decides to get to the block and post up with his back to the basket.

• Most of their sets will have a quick-hitter option on the strong side of the floor and if not available, they love to swing the ball to the weak side and get into a pick and roll situation.

• Miami is simple when it comes to attacking zones, which Dallas likes to play at times. The one thing that a zone does is limit penetration. At times, Miami will get impatient but you have to respect the ability to shoot the 3-pointer.


• The Heat can be beat getting back on defense. In the past, many of their bigs have had trouble changing ends but they should be a bit more athletic on the whole this year. Also, a healthy Haslem improves their transition defense.

• In the half-court, they play solid positional defense, always having a help defender ready to slide over. They protect the paint well.

• In the half-court their post are very active in denying the entry pass. On pick/roll actions they show very well.

• Quick passes and weakside action bothers them. They are very long as a team and at times, especially the deeper into the shot clock the possession gets, tend to play areas and lose sight of their man.

• They do not gamble in the passing lanes as much as in the past.

• Will trap the ball in the corner, and sometimes on pick/roll situations.

• Will contest every shot. See Bosh video:

How to Beat the Heat:

• Transition defense. As stated, their guards like to get out and run, especially off perimeter turnovers. Maverick post players must get back and defend rim.

• Attack the basket and make their post defend the ball instead of being able to help off.

• Take care of the ball and make them play half-court defense. Therefore Mavs need to exhibit patience offensively, with Kidd as the trigger-man.

• Withstand runs. With everything that has transpired -- the Mavs' title, their lengthy regular-season history of success against Miami, and the banner-raising on Sunday, you have to think the Heat will be sky-high. That is where the Mavs experience can once again be their ally.

Kyle Leath, a long-time Mavs staffer, former college head coach and now scout for the Denver Nuggets, provides you with an NBA-style scouting report before Mavs games.

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