Heat Good, But They’re No Bad Boys

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s a knee-jerk response. Every time a great defensive team rears its head, so many are quick to jump up and compare them to the Bad Boys of Detroit who ruled the Earth two decades ago.

Such is the case now with the Heat as they’ve limited the Mavericks to just 41.15 percent shooting and 88.3 points a game through the first three games of The Finals.

But seriously, when did you last see Miami’s Joel Anthony trip a player trying to drive down the lane ala Bill Laimbeer and then sneer? When have you seen Udonis Haslem pull the old rocking chair out from under his man and then chuckle like Rick Mahorn when he falls to the floor? When have you seen LeBron James or Dwayne Wade demonstrate even an ounce or two of the seething defensive defiance that Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman took out onto the court with them for every game.

Our good friend Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel caught up with a guy who’s had an up-close view of both. Ron Rothstein, now on the Heat bench, was one of the architects of the Bad Boys along with the late great Chuck Daly in Detroit.

Those Detroit defenses Rothstein helped assemble for Chuck Daly’s “Bad Boys” Pistons in the ’80s were more about brawn and bulk, players such as Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer.

This Heat defense is about athleticism, the type of closing speed that can pack the paint and still chase 3-point shooters off their spots.

“We have some athletes on this team that are just off the charts,” Rothstein said. “The amount of ground that we cover, the amount of space that we can cover, getting back in transition and running people down is remarkable.”

This is not to diminish the Heat’s prowess, merely to distinguish it from the rest and give its just due. All of those open 3-point shots that the Mavs hit against the Thunder and Lakers — especially the Lakers — in the previous two rounds of the playoffs are no longer so readily available because the Heat are simply too fast, too quick to recover on defense. That is especially true of James and Wade, who get most of their accolades for the jaw-dropping stunts they perform on offense, but can be just as overwhelming at the other end of the floor. The ball movement and slick passing that is a Dallas trademark has not been able to get enough open looks at the basket for anyone but Dirk Nowitzki and that lack of scoring from the supporting case is what has the Mavs battling uphill.

Make no mistake. The Heat defense is as good as it gets in today’s game. But they’re not the Bad Boys. Not until some bodies hit the floor and we see some sneers.

Admit it, don’t you miss the Bad Boys?


  1. GLG says:

    The Bad boys played in an era when you could use your hands and before the Michael Jordan rules came into effect. By today’s rules Lambierr would average 10 mins a night. That said, using 80’s rules this Heat team would be the far superior defense.

  2. asdf says:

    agree woth Gman, hahaha they wouldn’t last. but i do miss this team, where every player on the roster had the same attitude of just wanting to beat the oppostition by doing ANYTHING possible. ah the 80’s, the best years ever of basketball.

  3. Malik R. says:

    I don’t know about that. The league is more ticky-tacky at times, even in the playoffs, plus the game rules have changed so much, with the offensive 3 in the key and the hand checking made illegal. The game is a whole lot more open now. I think this Heat team would struggle against that squad. I think Joe Dumars could guard Wade, and LeBron would get decked by Mahorn, Laimbeer, and Rodman. And I don’t even want to start with Bosh…..

  4. Malik R. says:

    To be frank, you could even go back to the 2004 Pistons with the terms of ‘swarming defenses’.
    They held their opponents under 70 points 5 games in a row in the regular season and 11 of their 54 victories, they held their opponents to under 70 points, and 6 of their 16 playoff victories (Even held the Nets under 60 during the playoffs).

    That’s was the best defense I ever saw.

  5. Joe Balbony says:

    I think todays Bad boys ( HEAY ) is a lot better compared to the past bad boys of the Pistons before, yes they are good in defense and offense but compared to the miami right now, they are not even in the playing 100 percent of theer true potentisnl, with D-Wade, which is the best shooting guard accortding to this site http://sportales.com/shooting/top-10-nba-shooting-guards-of-all-time/ and lebron james the best player in the league now, http://sportales.com/basketball/top-five-nba-players-of-all-time/ , And bosh one of the top power forwards of the game, http://sportales.com/sports/top-10-nba-power-forwards-of-all-time/ , they will surely beat the bad boys if the heat will travel back in time and challenge the bad boys in a single game..

  6. Orin says:

    No, I really don’t miss the bad boys.

  7. Gman says:

    those bad boys wouldnt last in todays game…. they would all be ejected. A sneer could be a tech. LOL

  8. patcarter says:

    what made the “bad boys” defensivly soo good was there surpreme inclusion of the offensive talent they had. Unlike the Heat, Spolster has not yet realize he has to open the Heat offense to include lebron’s total offensive (run/speed), which gets everyone involved because he is such a great distributor and should be playing point/guard in this series, A 30,30,30 by the big three I gurantee you will make you forget about the old “bad boys”. The key is the offensive swagger every game, the Pistons had, it breeds a higher defensive confidence. Dallas will settle for DWade because they know they are a shot /possession from an opportunity to win/no heat blow outs.