About three weeks ago, I noted how Miami opponents were blistering-hot from 3-point range, and how rare it has been over the last decade-plus for a team that allows both a lot of 3-point attempts and a high percentage of makes on those attempts to advance far in the playoffs. Miami last season pulled off the trick, in part because they tightened up their 3-point defense considerably in the playoffs. In other words, the message three weeks ago was, Chill. They’ve done this before, and they’re the champs.
Three weeks later, Miami opponents are still averaging a league-high 25.5 triple tries per game, even though Miami’s pace of play is right around the league average. The shooting percentage on those 3s has dropped from 40-plus percent three weeks ago to 35.8 percent now — about league-average. Still: The combination of a decent opponent 3-point percentage and a ton of attempts has generally been a very bad indicator of postseason longevity. But we went through this last season with Miami, and veteran-laden champs earn some “flip the switch” leeway.