Houston Rockets vs Miami Heat game preview - December 15

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat / Eric Espada/GettyImages
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Houston Rockets vs Miami Heat: Stats to know

The Miami Heat’s offense is built around player movement, passing, and quick decision-making. They average the fifth most passes per game, eighth-most touches, have the 11th shortest time per touch, and average the fourth fewest dribbles per touch. The Heat also average the eighth most miles traveled on offense at the 12th fastest average speed. 

While the guiding principles of the Heat’s offense sound superb, the results have been far more mixed. As noted before, their offensive rating is in the bottom five. The main issue the Heat have run into is that they’re a poor spot up shooting team. Spot ups account for 21.7% of their offensive possessions (24th in the league), and they average 0.97 points per possession (24th). 

Where the Heat have excelled in points per possession are pick and roll ball handler possessions (0.93, 7th) and isolations (0.98, 9th). Unfortunately, those are two of the lowest efficiency playtypes. 

The one area where the Rockets will need to be wary is in transition. The Heat are an infrequent transition team (14.8%, 25th) but are absolutely deadly (1.19, 2nd) when they do decide to break. 

On defense, the Heat have built a juggernaut in an untraditional fashion. While most elite defenses excel by simply stopping shots, the Heat actually struggle in this regard. Their opponent effective field goal percentage of 54.9% is the seventh-worst mark in the league, but they’re able to make up for it by being elite everywhere else. 

The Heat force the second-highest turnover rate in the league (14.6%), have the fifth-best defensive rebounding rate (78%), and the fourth-best opponent free throw to field goal attempt rate (.181). The Heat’s defense is somewhat unorthodox, but it works. If they’re able to figure out their rim defense (73%, 6th worst), they could make a run at the league’s best defense.