Let’s take a quick look back to the 2012 Finals: The Oklahoma City Thunder were the favorites to win the championship. They backed that up by taking the first game by 11 points, only to lose the next four.
LeBron James has been the headline of the NBA ever since. The most significant headline all year not including LeBron James was Chicago ending Miami’s 27 game winning streak. Wait, that still involves LeBron, right?
Don’t get me wrong; it is very important to try and set the tone for the series in Game 1, but it isn’t necessarily an indication of what’s to come in the remainder of the NBA Finals. Go back and watch last year’s finals if you don’t believe me.
That being said, the San Antonio Spurs are a much more experienced team that last year’s Oklahoma City Thunder. But keeping that in mind, also remember that the Thunder beat the Spurs four straight games to knock them out in the conference finals.
Miami got out to a quick 9-2 start and stretched the lead to nine at one point in the second quarter. But to nobody’s surprise, the cohesive Spurs fought back and ultimately won the game, deservingly so. The Spurs made Miami look quite uncomfortable in the second half and limited them to an uncharacteristic 36 points.
LeBron James notched his third NBA Finals triple-double on Thursday with 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. However, the fact that he scored under 20 and lost the game didn’t make the triple-double seem extraordinarily impressive to people. Every time Miami loses a game, it seems like he just doesn’t get enough help. James even admitted he was very tired in the 4th quarter.
Let’s take a look ahead to tomorrow’s game 2: First of all, Dwyane Wade is absolutely correct when he says that it’s a “must-win game.” An 0-2 hole would not be acceptable, especially losing back-to-back games at home. Not to mention, Miami hasn’t lost back-to-back home games in two years. Therefore, I think it’s fair to say we can count on Miami to win this one.
If you do something well, then you need to keep doing it until you’re forced to stop. That goes for anything in life and basketball is among the activities that applies to. We can’t start by looking too much into the situation: Miami played a well-rounded game in the first half of game 1. They played lousy in the 2nd half. That’s that.
The fact that Miami committed the majority of it’s turnovers in the 4th quarter is a shame. If you rarely turn the ball over throughout most of the game, you absolutely cannot start to be careless with the ball. Regardless of how much San Antonio improved it’s defense, the Heat need to be aware of the importance of ball control late in games.
LeBron is usually fantastic at securing the ball. In game 1, he had a tolerable two turnovers but it’s still two more than he would have liked to have. As unfair as this may sound, James is somewhat responsible for the turnover total that the team commits with him on the court. LeBron is the main ball handler and he is the only reason this team can execute at a substantially high level.
Miami out-rebounded the Spurs by nine in game 1. There is no reason that Miami shouldn’t win with that kind of rebounding advantage because rebounding is usually one of their only struggles. LeBron James had 18 rebounds alone which means that he had plenty of opportunities to push the ball down the floor. Miami is basically unstoppable on the fast break, so James needs to take advantage of that on every rebound he can.
It’s probably an overstatement to say I would be shocked if Miami lost game 2 because we know what San Antonio is capable of. But it’s true to say that there was a significant difference in LeBron James’ game last time he and the Spurs met in the finals. That being said, James’ teammates do need to take a bigger role from here on out.
I think we’ll see Miami look more comfortable in game 2 and I would expect LeBron to attack the rim much more. I like Miami to win game 2 with a bit of a cushion, 97-88.
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