Blog Entry

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

Posted on: November 10, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: November 10, 2010 12:07 pm
Was the Jazz win a fluke or a sign of the Heat's cooler underbelly? Did the Hornets just win with their bench? And are the Cavs leading their freaking division? All this and more in today's GameChanger .
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


So the question is... was this fluke a not? Because the implications are rather significant. Let's not, for a moment, take anything away from the Utah Jazz. They were on the road, in a hostile sleepy environment, and they simply scratched, clawed, and pounded their way to a win over the most star-studded team in the NBA. Down by 20 last night, they roared back in a 72-point second half to defeat the Heat. A huge win for coach Jerry Sloan, a win the team needed, and an amazing night for Jazz fans that shows their tenacity, their heart, and their talent.

Now, then.

The Heat won the rebounding battle, 46-44. The Heat split the turnover battle, with each team losing it a dozen times, nothing too egregious. The Heat fouled only 20 times to the Jazz' 32. And until the fourth quarter, they held a significant advantage in shooting percentage, with the Jazz shooting 41% to the Heat's 47%. There were a lot of things that would have to go right in the fourth for the Jazz to force overtime.

They happened.

For starters, the Jazz shot 17 of 23 in the fourth, not Indiana numbers , but still an absurd streak. This was of course capped off by Paul Millsap. Millsap entered last night's game a career 2 of 20 3-point shooter (10%). In the final minute of the game, he drained three 3-pointers, making him perfect on the season, as they were the only 3-pointers he's taken this season. Swish. Swish. Swish. Throw on top of that the 46 point detonation he leveled with the other 37 points, including the two on the tip in to force overtime, and you have an amazing night for Millsap, and a huge outlier in terms of predictable results. The Heat suddenly found themselves dropped from an airplane and happened to land right in the middle of a tornado. That's what we're talking about here in terms of probabilities.

So was it a fluke?

I don't think so.

We see the same pattern carried out across the Heat's three losses. A scoring forward down low who's able to use his size to create points amid the barren trees of Miami (tall, sure, but not great defenders). And a point guard who can tear you up (Deron Williams tallied 14 assists last night). In Boston it was Rondo and Glen Davis; in New Orleans it was Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor. Now Millsap-Williams scratch their names onto the tree trunk of inside-out combos that have cooled the Heat. Furthermore, we see the same kind of discombobulation we've seen all season, especially in crunch time, the same reliance on sub-par players to take the biggest shots ("Eddie House for the win... clang!"), the same lackadaisical performance out of the Heat mentally, and the same defensive breakdowns in the biggest moments.

Adding to the improbability of the night was the fact that the Triad gave the kind of performance you'd want from them. Dwyane Wade had 39 and 6 rebounds, LeBron James had a triple-double with 20, 11 boards, and 14 assists, and Chris Bosh had 17 and 9. And they still lost .

The Jazz needed a few more things go their way in this one, that's for sure. The problem is the Heat handed the Jazz those things on a platter. And trying to establish exactly how to resolve those things isn't going to be easy for head coach Erik Spoelstra, who's got to be feeling a little hot this morning either way.

Great win for the Jazz, tough loss for the Heat.


Paul Millsap: Yeah, we'll go ahead and notch him down with 46 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.

LaMarcus Aldridge: 19 points, 17 rebounds, and Aldridge seems more and more like he's taken a big step into becoming a legit big.

Kevin Love: 23 points, 24 rebounds. Amazing what happens when a good player gets playing time, isn't it?

Dwyane Wade: 39 points, 6 rebounds. Hard to argue that Wade didn't do his part last night.

LeBron James: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists. His first triple-double as a member of the Heat. And again, they lost. So weird.

Al Farouq Aminu: 20 points, 8 rebounds. Look at the rookie make progress!


Brandon Roy had his knee drained .

Our Power Rankings are out , and we went 3-Up, 3-Down .

Oh, and the Pacers went freaking En Fuego .

KB lays out how the Bret Bearup situation affects Melo .


This time they didn't even need Chris Paul to be amazing. The Hornets had every reason for a let-down game after their last week and hot start. Hey, they've got to lose sometime, don't they?

Don't they?

The Clippers are a bad team, but again played well last night, enough to hang until the fourth, with Al Farouq Aminu emerging from the shadows looking like an actual NBA player. But this time it wasn't the starting superstars that did it for the Hornets. It was the bench mob. Jerryd Bayless ran the show, Willie Green filled it up (19 points on 7-10 shooting), and that was enough for the Hornets to pull away and not need Chris Paul to press his knee anymore. The Hornets just keep finding ways to get it done. The Hornets are running a weird modified break, where they force the issue, pulling teams inside, then using smart passing around the perimeter to get the job done with open jumpers. It may not be sustainable, but by God, it's working right now.


The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Central division at 4-3.


"Hold me... "


Uh, yeah, I think we'll go with MANSAP.


The Minnesota Timberwolves played a great game last night. It'll get glossed over in the headlines and be forgotten within about, oh, four hours, but they really did. Kevin Love was just tremendous on the glass and they had some good things going. They just couldn't get the last burst to get past the Lakers, who had one of their "Do we really have to care nights?" And the answer was no. But still, good stuff from the Wolves who responded to their beat downs lately with a respectable performance. And yet another loss.

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Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2010 7:49 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

OK, so the Heat still is working out the bugs and cohesion is not there yet. But the writer has some good points, who is going to defend the great point guards and who is their inside presence on defense and rebounding as well? Right now, those are ill defined, as well as the one thing that plagues a lot of teams with more than one star player - in tight situations at the end of the game, who do you want to have the ball and take that last shot? To me, it more often than not should be Wade.

Time will tell how good this team really is, especially on the defensive side - where champions are made or broken.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 5:31 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

The Heat need to just be held to the same standards of officiating as the other team is getting. For some reason, Wade and Lebron are not getting any calls so far in the young season. They slash to the basket every other play, but they are not getting calls that they were used to in their career.

Just relax, like most stars in all sports. They take the hit for about the first month, but when it comes crunch time, they will get the calls.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:22 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

looks like we might need to call the wambulance for miami lino! did u even watch the game? the jazz shot 21 free throws.. the heat shot 47 free throws!!! and here u are b!tc#ing about calls, it was a great win by utah quit trying to take credit away from them

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:15 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

Both Lebron and Wades FT averages haven't changed much at all.
Wade has 79 free throws in 8 games for a rough 9.9 free throws per game averageLast season he 702 in 77 games for a 9.11 average
Lebron has shot 64 in 8 games for an  average of 8 per gameLast season he shot 773 in 76 games for a 10.17 average.
Lebron is trying to assist more and isn't handling the ball 100% as the scorer like he was with the Cavaliers so that's why his fouls are down. Wade is basically playing the same and his free throws are consistent.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:11 pm

Look at the Numbers ... LeBrick

Its funny how writers so often look just at the points a player scores to determine if they played well or not.  Sure LeBron had 20 points, but he was 5 for 17 from the field.  That's pathetic!  Stats like that don't help the team, they hurt the team.  Nothing worse for team morale than working the ball around to your "star" player and hearing nothing but "clang"!

The Heat will be fine, but everyone needs to get used to the fact that they are not the best team in the NBA.  They have the talent for sure, but they are not a "team" yet.  They may never be a "team".  It takes years to develop chemistry, and find the right mix of players.  Your observations about the Inside/Outside combos that are killing them are spot on.  The Heat have some holes in that lineup, and they are important holes to fill.

Anyways, great article, just wanted to point out that we shouldn't give LeBrick a free pass just because he scores his 20 points (on sub .300 shooting)!

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

nope. it's everyone else who has handed them the trophy. The players have stayed humble and realistic throughout, sorry that the rest of the country secretly WANTS them to win, but there's a reason why they all signed 6-year deals.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:01 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

The Heat need to just be held to the same standards of officiating as the other team is getting. For some reason, Wade and Lebron are not getting any calls so far in the young season. They slash to the basket every other play, but they are not getting calls that they were used to in their career.

Wade was clearly fouled on the final play of regular time, and then a phantom call was given to Utah at the other end of the floor which gave them free throws to tie.

It happens in every game, sure, but just like the NFL, the NBA has turned into a referree-dominated league and as a fan, I am growing tired/bored by both. When the players cannot dictate the games anymore, the game suffers.

Since: May 9, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2010 1:31 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

The Warm are not "the most star-studded team in the NBA"! Stop this! The Lakers are that team.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2010 1:15 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

Miami think that they're gonna be handed the trophy at the end of the year. Chumps step-off. Go see the wizard of oz. Maybe he'll give ya'll some heart. Frontin.

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:29 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

The Heat just need a strong defender who can handle point guards and maybe hit an odd shot or two.  They don't need anything stellar, just somone who can defend.

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