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Irish Coffee: Why Miami is a fifth seed

11.10.10 at 1:53 pm ET

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The offseason’s biggest hype — How far can the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) carry the Miami Heat? — has now become the regular season’s biggest question — How far can the Little Two (Carlos Arroyo and Joel Anthony) drag down the Heat?

After Utah’s 116-114 overtime win Tuesday night against the Heat, the writing is on the wall: Miami needs point guard and post help — STAT. If the Heat don’t get it, should they meet, the Celtics will beat them in the NBA playoffs.

So far, the Heat are 0-3 against elite point guards (Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Deron Williams). That trio averaged 12.7 points and 16.7 assists — producing 46.1 points per game — against Arroyo, who averaged just 5.3 points and 1.0 assists (producing 7.3 points) in those three games. From the point guard position alone, the Heat essentially started each game in a 39-point hole.

Overall, in the Heat’s eight games, Arroyo is averaging 5.6 fewer points and 6.3 fewer assists (18.2 fewer points produced) than his point guard counterpart. You know it’s bad when Devin Harris totals six points and one assist — and outplays you. Thursday night’s game against Rondo isn’t going to help, either.

Take a look at Arroyo’s production against Miami opponents’ primary point guard:

  • Arroyo: 3 points-0 rebounds-0 assists; Rondo: 4-5-17
  • Arroyo: 6-3-1; Louis Williams: 15-1-7
  • Arroyo: 7-4-4; Jameer Nelson: 10-3-1
  • Arroyo: 12-5-4; Harris: 13-1-6
  • Arroyo: 8-6-3; Sebastian Telfair: 13-1-1
  • Arroyo: 0-1-1; Paul: 13-2-19
  • Arroyo: 4-1-0; Harris: 6-2-1
  • Arroyo: 10-0-2; Deron Williams: 21-4-14
  • Total: 50-19-16; Opponents: 95-19-66
  • Average: 6.3-2.4-2.0; Opponents: 11.9-2.4-8.3

Things get far worse in Miami when you factor in the center position. Joel Anthony is averaging just 1.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in eight games. He’s scored only 15 points in 145 minutes this season. His counterparts?  Oh, they’re only averaging 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds against him.

Take a look at Anthony’s production against the primary center for Miami’s opponent on that given night:

  • Anthony: 2 points-7 rebounds-1 assist; Glen Davis: 13-5-0
  • Anthony: 0-3-0; Elton Brand: 12-9-0
  • Anthony: 0-4-0; Dwight Howard: 19-7-0
  • Anthony: 1-3-2; Brook Lopez: 20-5-1
  • Anthony: 4-5-0; Nikola Pekovic: 12-8-0
  • Anthony: 2-5-0; Emeka Okafor: 26-13-1
  • Anthony: 2-2-0; Lopez: 12-3-2
  • Anthony: 4-5-0; Al Jefferson: 2-9-2
  • Total: 15-34-3; Opponents: 116-59-6
  • Average: 1.9-4.3-0.4; Opponents: 14.5-7.4-0.8

Because of how putrid Arroyo and Anthony have been this season, the remaining members of the Heat have to make up an average of 18.2 points per game. They might be capable of that if Bosh wasn’t also being outplayed.

On average, after being dominated by Paul Millsap Tuesday night, Bosh has been outscored by his counterparts by 1.7 points and out-rebounded by 1.1 boards per game. See how he’s fared against opponents:

  • Bosh: 8 points-8 rebounds-2 assists; Kevin Garnett: 10-10-3
  • Bosh: 15-7-1; Thaddeus Young: 15-3-1
  • Bosh: 11-10-1; Rashard Lewis: 2-3-0
  • Bosh: 18-1-2; Derrick Favors: 13-13-1
  • Bosh: 13-6-2; Kevin Love: 20-6-1
  • Bosh: 15-1-1; David West: 15-7-0
  • Bosh: 21-5-2; Favors: 11-5-0
  • Bosh: 17-9-3; Millsap: 46-9-1
  • Total: 118-47-14; Opponents: 132-56-7
  • Average: 14.8-5.9-1.8; Opponents: 16.5-7.0-0.9

What does all this mean? Every game, the Heat are essentially trailing 20-0 before the first whistle. That’s a big hole for James and Wade to dig out of each night. They must be muttering, “You’re killing me, Smalls,” more than Ham did in “Sandlot.”

The worse news for the Heat? There isn’t much out there to replace those guys. Is signing people like Rashad McCants or Robert Swift to the veteran minimum going to help? Honestly, I’m not sure it could get any worse.

The other option is for Miami to seek a trade, but who do they have to deal? Udonis Haslem is the only guy who would garner any interest. And it’s not like they can get someone else’s salary dump, because they don’t have the salaries in return to make the numbers match up.

Basically, they are what they are until next offseason. So, what are they? I’m thinking a No. 5 seed behind the Celtics, Magic, Bulls and Hawks.


NBA blogger Kevin Chouinard of Anaheim Amigos analyzed the concerning amount of minutes that have piled up for the Celtics’ Big Four in the absences of Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Delonte West. The chart:

While not one of the C’s top four players has seen a decrease in minutes this season, the Lakers have allowed for significant rest for Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, while maintaining Pau Gasol‘s playing time. Only Lamar Odom has seen a considerable increase in minutes this early in the season.

Chouinard points out that perhaps the 2010-11 Celtics are aiming for a similar blueprint as they’ve utilized in each of the past three seasons, when they compiled a 78-12 record in games played before Christmas. Could Doc Rivers be preparing for another significant stretch of .500 play in the second half?


An old friend of Green Street, Jessica Camerato, caught up with Kendrick Perkins to see how his rehab was going so far this season. According to him, it’s going well. Very well. He expects to be ready before the All-Star break. In the meantime, it’s killing him not to be playing alongside the Big Four:

“It’s been easier as far as physically,” Perkins told Camerato. “Mentally it’s harder, watching guys go at it and play basketball. It’s tough watching the team doing what they do. So mentally, it’s harder.”

Perkins’s return could be one reason the C’s may be able to limit the Big Four’s minutes and avoid a significant drop-off in performance after the All-Star break.


Boston College is expected to sign three Los Angeles-area recruits on Wednesday — Brea Olinda’s Kyle Caudill, Valencia’s Lonnie Jackson and Long Beach Poly’s Ryan Anderson.

Obviously, the Los Angeles Times asked them if they would abandon their Lakers roots in favor of Celtics pride. The short answer: No.

“It will be interesting,” Anderson told the LA Times. “I’m still going to root for the Lakers. Hopefully, they don’t beat me up too bad.”


I bookmarked this item a week ago and had forgotten about until today. After Phil Jackson dubbed his bench “The Renegades,” Trey Kerby came up with 29 other nicknames for NBA benches. Good stuff.

The Celtics are one of the better ones (“Three Men and a Big Baby”), although Shaq already came up with a pretty good one in “The Boston Bench Mob.”

Other favorites: Big Head Za and the Monsters (Hawks), Vomitron (Wizards) and The Juwan Howards (Heat).

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

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