The Miami Heat’s Big Three have been unstoppable as the team heads into the 2017-18 NBA season. As a result, the Heat have been one of the best teams in the league over the last 3 years, sitting with the fourth best record in the league since 2013 after winning the 2015 NBA Championship.
February brought the Los Angeles Lakers’ first issue with their injury-ravaged roster. Long-term injuries to their star players disrupted the team’s chemistry and slowed their momentum, but they still managed to beat the Miami Heat in seven games. The Heat, meanwhile, struggled to stay competitive with their perennial adversaries. While the Lakers’ success doomed the Heat in the playoffs, the team’s recent struggles last season brought forth a new serious question: Who is the Heat’s most dangerous foe?
LeBron James is a great player, a great person, and a great thing for all of sports. The Miami Heat, a team that many believed to be a joke when LeBron James joined them, have earned not only a championship, but a model of how a team can be built around a superstar player.
The Miami Heat, led by All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, reached the NBA Finals two years ago. Nobody anticipated them to perform as well as they did, and they took advantage of “The Bubble” to surprise opponents with their outstanding two-way play. They were, of course, unable to maintain their success after being eliminated in the first round last season.
The Heat, on the other hand, will be back with a fury, having added three quality players to their core rotation this summer, including Kyle Lowry, P.J. Tucker, and Victor Oladipo.
Miami is once again one of the top teams in the East and will be favored to make a long playoff run, despite stiff opposition from the Bucks and Nets in their conference. But how have Miami’s individual players performed in comparison to the rest of the league? It’s time to figure out what the Heat’s starting lineup’s Kryptonite is, and one name will emerge as a constant in this regard: LeBron James.
Kyle Lowry has a 10-32 record against LeBron James.
When Kyle Lowry was a member of the Raptors and LeBron James was a member of the Cavaliers, they had many playoff fights. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Cavaliers won three consecutive games against the Raptors. Kyle Lowry, on the other hand, was unable to avoid two sweeps in 2017 and 2018.
In the 42 games they played against each other, LeBron averaged 26.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 7.9 assists per game. Lowry gave it his all, averaging 17.0 points and 6.5 assists per game, but he couldn’t hold off the powers of perhaps the most dominating forward in NBA history.
Duncan Robinson (3-8) vs. Danny Green (3-8)
Duncan Robinson is now one of the greatest shooters in the NBA, averaging 42.3 percent from beyond the arc in three seasons with the Miami Heat. It’s no surprise that Miami’s greatest shooter was re-signed to a strong 5-year, $90 million deal. Robinson will remain a member of the Miami Heat until he is 32 years old.
Robinson, on the other hand, was unable to make enough threes to improve his losing record against 3-and-D swingman Danny Green. Green isn’t a standout offensive player, but when he sets his mind to it, he can be a tenacious defender. In regular-season games, the three-time NBA champion limited Robinson to 35.7 percent 3-point shooting and 40.4 percent field-goal shooting in the playoffs.
Jimmy Butler has a 4-17 record against Chris Paul.
From the way he plays the game to his mindset, Jimmy Butler was destined to play for the Miami Heat. That’s why, after the “Big Three” period, he helped put the club on the map as a championship contender. Butler has improved his offense and defense to the point that he is now a superstar in his own right. Butler, on the other hand, was unable to defeat future Hall of Famer Chris Paul.
Butler was far from his best versus Paul, scoring 14.6 points per game on 39.2% shooting in the regular season and 15.8 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting in the playoffs. In their five postseason meetings, Paul outperformed Butler on nearly every time, averaging 19.0 PPG and 6.6 APG. Phoenix will almost certainly be in the Western Conference championship chase again, so Butler will have plenty of opportunity to avenge himself if the two teams meet again.
P.J. Tucker has a 7-22 record against LeBron James.
P.J. Tucker is quickly establishing himself as a key component of any championship team, as he excels at perimeter and interior defense while also performing the grunt labor that no one likes to do. There’s a reason Tucker started for the Milwaukee Bucks last season on their way to winning the NBA title.
Tucker, on the other hand, does not possess the superstar abilities of LeBron James, who has a winning record versus Lowry, the Heat’s primary point guard. In the regular season, LeBron won 22 of the 29 games he played against Tucker, averaging 25.3 points per game and 30.3 points per game in the playoffs. Tucker will be there to annoy the other team’s top forwards, but history shows that this will not work against The King.
2-9 Record of Bam Adebayo vs. LeBron James
Once again, LeBron James is a Miami Heat player’s Kryptonite. Bam Adebayo has grown into a true All-Star with Miami, having been named to an All-Star Team and two All-Defensive Teams in his short career. Adebayo, on the other hand, has lost nine times in 11 matchups with LeBron James, while being outplayed on both sides of the court.
In the regular season, James averaged 28.0 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game, compared to 11.7 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game for Bam, and he cranked it up even more in the playoffs. In the playoffs, LeBron averaged 30.3 points per game and 13.0 rebounds per game, whereas Adebayo only managed 15.3 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per game. The Heat aren’t afraid of anybody, but they’d like not cross paths with LeBron James during the NBA playoffs.
Stephen Curry vs. Victor Oladipo 1-10 Record
Victor Oladipo isn’t feeling well, which means he may miss a significant portion of the 2021-2022 season. When he’s on the floor, though, Oladipo is one of the greatest two-way guards in the NBA, and his passing and scoring have significantly improved. Miami is hoping to get the two-time All-Star back on the court as soon as possible.
The best shooter of all time, Stephen Curry, has a winning record against the Heat’s 6th man. Over his ten games versus Oladipo, Curry has averaged 27.6 points per game on a fantastic 49 percent three-point shooting, while the defensive guard has only scored 15.8 points per game. Victor’s return to the court is crucial for Miami because his defense will be valuable against the game’s top perimeter players, especially Stephen Curry.
StatHead provided the records.
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The Golden State Warriors’ Deadliest Kryptonite: Derek Fisher has a perfect 9-0 record against Stephen Curry.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Deadliest Kryptonite: LeBron James is 8-17 against Danny Green, while Anthony Davis is 2-25 against Stephen Curry.
The Brooklyn Nets’ Deadliest Kryptonite: Kyrie Irving is 3-10 against LeBron James, while Kevin Durant is 4-13 against Carmelo Anthony.
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