Monday, March 18, 2013

Heat Uses 28-4 Spurt vs. Toronto to Advance Winning Streak to 22

With yesterday's 108-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the Miami Heat extended its winning streak to 22 games, tying for the second-longest such streak in NBA history. The key to Miami's win over Toronto was explosiveness based on three-point shooting. It's a familiar theme for the Heat, which used success from behind the arc to win the NBA finals last year.

Going back to yesterday's win, the Heat ran off a 28-4 spurt in roughly a six and one-half minute segment of the fourth quarter to put away the Raptors. Based on the fourth-quarter play-by-play sheet, I have charted all field-goal and free-throw attempts by both teams during this stretch in the following graphic (which you may click to enlarge). The graphic attempts to depict time (minutes left shown in grey), team (Miami orange, Toronto purple), shot distance (length of bars, see legend below), and shot success (upper-half represents "good," and lower-half, missed shots), all at a glance.

Above the white horizontal line, the solid shapes for made shots are far more prevalent for Miami (orange) than for Toronto (purple). Ray Allen's burst of made three-pointers at the 6:37, 6:07, and 5:09 marks is highlighted, as are Toronto's mere four points. Below the white line, in contrast, the outlined shapes for missed shots are far more prevalent for Toronto than Miami. For whatever reason, the Raptors were not getting (or choosing to take) shots near the bucket, as all their field-goal attempts during the stretch were long two-pointers and three-pointers. 

The Heat has a quick turnaround, facing the Celtics in Boston tonight.

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