What’s on their mind Saturday: Miami Heat

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Whoops. That didn’t go how the Heat planned, I’m betting. So Saturday at Heat practice, Erik Spoelstra has to regroup the Heat mentally and emotionally to prepare them for a Game 3 that’s pretty much insanely important. (“OMG NO TEAM HAS EVER WON/LOST THE FINALS AFTER LOSING/WINNING GAME 3 IN A 2-3-2 FORMAT AFTER SPLITTING THE FIRST TWO GAMES! SPECIFIC AND SMALL SAMPLE SETS FOR THE WIN!”)

Here’s what’s plaguing the Heat on Saturday at practice before Sunday’s Game 4.

Hero ball = bad

This should be pretty obvious, but then, the Heat made a living off of hero ball in the Celtics and Bulls series. In Game 1, the Heat hit several huge shots late, but they were largely a product of one of the Big 2 drawing a double, then the Heat swinging it to the other one. That’s the objective of this whole thing, right? To draw attention with one superstar then hit them with the other, or the third one if the defense rotates. The Heat abandoned that plan for hero ball in Game 2 and it bit them big time.

Spoelstra can’t adjust the issue directly. You try telling LeBron and Wade “don’t try and take guys one-on-one/one-on-three. But Spoesltra needs to try and establish commitments to the other ideas which have got them to this point. Reminders about sharing the ball, about looking for the open man, etc. will at least encourage them away from what got them burned in Game 2.

Glass works

Heat controlled the offensive boards in Game 1, they won. Dallas won the offensive glass in Game 2, the Heat lost. So that’s got to be a point of emphasis. Spoesltra’s pretty well settled into his rotation at this point, opting for speed and energy versus raw size. But Joel Anthony is going to have to contribute somewhere on the box score. Yes, he’s great defensively. Yes, he does a lot of hustle plays. But the Heat need those rebounding digits to go up. Saturday that needs to be a point of emphasis. The Heat know their offense needs extra chances. Whoever wins the five matchup is going to win this series. The Miami bigs should get a workout Satuday.

The Quick and the Bosh

Chris Bosh was great in Game 1 because he was quick and decisive. In Game 2, he froze the ball, looking for opportunities. The Heat cannot stop the ball. If they are not going to go, they need to reset and move the ball. Bosh has to know immediately if he’s going to go to the pull-up or drive. If neither option is available, he’s got to kick it back out. Bosh can be devastating if he’s working off ball. If he’s freezing the ball and trying to get shots up over solid defenders, he’s going to have issues and the Heat are going to be even more offensively limited. Bosh has to pull his weight.

Double Dirk Nowitzki.

That’s it. Don’t leave Dirk Nowitzki in single coverage. It worked all game in Game 2 until the fourth quarter, so naturally the Heat stopped doing it. Boom. Roasted.  That should probably come up at some point in the conversation today.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.