Might have guessed that Miami was going to tie things up in this series - They haven't lost two games in a row sin the last 5 months!
And as the Finals move to San Antonio, did you know that in the 28 years of the 2-3-2 format, the home team has won all three games only three times? So for San Antonio to close this thing out at home, they're going to have to break both recent and historical trends.
So What have learned from after game 2???
Miami has good defense
Coming in to this series San Antonio averaged 102 points a game for the playoffs (ranked 3rd). They are averaging 88 in the first two games. Perhaps that's a reason Miami can still win by 20 points when LeBron and Wade score 17 & 10 points, respectively
LeBron James gets up......
Didn't we know that already?
Well, now Tiago Splitter knows it too:
......and it makes him as exciting on defense as he is on offense
You can never really get enough of this, can you?
LeBron James is a flamboyant passer
Oh wait, we knew this already too.
But it's still fun to marvel over it:
1) LeBron doubled in the post
2) Elevate over the double
3) Over the head pass
4) Over Bird-man's mohawk & Garry Neal's out stretched hand!
5) Gravitating towards Mike Miller's hands......
6)......right into his shooting pocket!
7) Enabling him to go right up into his shot before the close-out
So, just to be clear, that's a cross-court pass out of the double team to the perfect location for a shooter to go into his shot before the defense can contest. You got all that?
After, claiming that Miami can't win with LeBron scoring less than 20 and playing like Magic......
Miami wins with LeBron scoring less than 20 and playing like Magic (evidenced by the plays above).
Can Miami win the series like this?
I would say no. It certainly seems like it would be tough to win on the road.
Food for thought:
Before 33-5 run, 33 minutes of play, LeBron was 2-12 for 6 points & 4 assists
During that run, which lasted all of ~8 minutes, LeBron was 5-5 for 11 points & 3 assists.
But hey, what do I know?
Every time I implore LeBron to shoot more, he defends his teammates and his teammates come through.
Chris Bosh is more efficient when not spotting up for three
Game 1: 6-16 (0-4 from three), 13 points & 5 rebounds
Game 2: 6-10 (0-0 from three), 12 points & 10 rebounds
(I think the Heat will trade one point for 5 rebounds).
I'll just say, Mario Chalmers perhaps is the type of player where most of the time when he looks to score or do too much you just roll your eyes and say "what is he doing?"
But the fact that the confidence required to sometimes look-off LeBron, Wade, and Bosh is genetic and therefore permanent, I guess it always be there and come in handy when he's actually needed to score.
He did it last year in game 4 of the Finals. And he had another crucial performance in game 2 - leading MIami in scoring! After going 3-10 in game 1 for 8 points (never good to have more shots than points), he went 6-12 for 19 points in game 2.
Confidence is such a huge part of being a professional basketball player (well, really in anything). And I guess you'd rather have a guy that has too much than not enough.
Having LeBron set screens on the ball is better than having him receive them
It gets LeBron moving.
It prevents a double team on LeBron.
It allows other players, like Chalmers, to become an active participant in the game.
Truth is, Miami has run this before - many times with LeBron screening for Wade at the top of the key.
San Antonio can make Miami tired?
So what's the good news???
1) despite the 33-5 Heat avalanche, the Spurs were winning with three minutes to go in the third.
2) This has not been a series dominated by super-star play. After two games:
Duncan: 14.5 points (34%) & 12.5 rebounds
Parker: 17 points (44%) & 5.5 assists
Ginobili: 9 points (35%)
LeBron: 17.5 points (42%), 13 rebounds, 8.5 assists
Wade: 13.5 points (43%) & 4 assists
Bosh: 12.5 points (46%) & 7.5 rebounds
If this series is not going to be determined by super-stars, but rather team depth, role players, adjustments, and coaching - shouldn't that favor San Antonio?
3) Case in point: Danny Green
Game one: 4-9 from three
Game two: 5-5 from three (6-6 overall)
And a block on LeBron in the post???
1) LeBron is averaging 17.5 points, and yet the series is 1-1
2) It's good to have a couple of shooters in a knife fight:
Ray Allen last 3 games: 11-18 form the field, 9-14 from three.
Mike Miller last 4 games: 7-11 from the field, 6-10 from three
For the Spurs:
Defending the LeBron James screen......go under the screen to stay in front of Chalmers and make him shoot long jumpers!
Trying to fight over the top allows Chalmers to turn the corner and attack. It also forces the man guarding LeBron to leave him......leaving leBron open! This enables him to score or make a play for his teammates. All three examples below:
1) Screen for the Chalmers drive/bucket.
Result: Mario Chalmers and-one lay-up to start the 33-5 run (look how open LeBron is at the elbow.
2) Screen for the LeBron roll to the basket
Result: Leonard helps on Chalmers, leaving LeBron open for his first bucket of the second half.
3) Screen for LeBron to make a play for Mike Miller
Result: Leonard helps on Chalmers, leaving LeBron open
LeBron drives to paint forcing Garry Neal to help, leaving Mike Miller open for the kick out.
Don't fight over the screen, make Chalmers beat you on long jumpers off the dribble!
Or, get up in Chalmers space and prevent him from using the screen at all.
For Miami:Adjust to the inevitable Popovich adjustment.
Can't wait to see what that is tonight!