Are Dwane Casey and the Dallas Mavericks to blame for the Miami Heat juggernaut that has terrorized the NBA over the past two seasons?
Partly, admitted Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra before the two-time defending champions took on the Raptors on Tuesday.
Back in 2011, Dallas, using the defensive schemes of Rick Carlisle and lead assistant Casey, forced LeBron James and the Heat into bad shot after bad shot in a surprising six-game win.
An inability to beat a variety of zones prompted the Heat to load up with shooters and prompted James to find a way to impose his will and dominate all opponents, no matter what they threw at him.
“We’ve had to work on that extensively,” Spoelstra said of gaining the upper hand on zone defences.
“Sometimes, the ultimate pain makes you have to change and adapt.”
Shane Battier said James dug deep after the loss to the Mavericks.