What’s on their mind Saturday: Miami Heat

6 Comments

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.

LeBron James swats Thaddeus Young on yet another chasedown block (VIDEO)

Twitter
Leave a comment

LeBron James is The King, but he’s also the king of chasedown blocks in the NBA. During Sunday’s Game 4 matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers star dropped the hammer yet again on an unsuspecting opponent.

The victim this time was Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, who was out on a 2-on-2 break with LeBron trailing.

To be honest, Young should have known better than to try this.

Via Twitter:

Cleveland completed the series sweep on Indiana with the win, 106-102.

Robin Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Jae Crowder’s shoe (VIDEO)

Twitter
1 Comment

Why did Robin Lopez tie Jae Crowder‘s shoe during Sunday’s Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls? We may never know. Perhaps he was just helping the Celtics forward after he tossed him to the ground? Or maybe he’s just doing weird Robin Lopez things?

In any case, Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Crowder’s shoe after it came off during a battle down low early in the third quarter at United Center.

Here’s how it went down.

Via Twitter:

I still have no idea.

Noticeably frustrated, Russell Westbrook gets prickly with reporter after loss to Rockets (VIDEO)

Twitter
3 Comments

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets played an ugly game down the stretch on Sunday. The Rockets employed a hack-a-Andre Roberson strategy, while the Thunder played sloppy and often poorly with Russell Westbrook out of the game.

The latter was the subject in question when Oklahoman reporter Berry Tramel spoke with Westbrook and Steven Adams at a postgame press conference following the Game 4 loss, 113-109.

Tramel’s question — whether the Rockets got a boost when Westbrook was off the floor — was directed at Adams, but the Thunder MVP candidate couldn’t let it go.

Snapping at Tramel, Westbrook told him not to split them up.

Via Twitter:

Tramel’s question is legitimate, and one of the overarching themes of this series thus far. Westbrook’s response is pretty far off the mark, but it did tell the story of how he’s feeling going away from Chesapeake Arena down 3-1.

Game 5 is on Tuesday in Houston.

Kevin Love throws full court pass to LeBron James for sweet and-1 bucket (VIDEO)

AP
Leave a comment

Kevin Love and LeBron James were locked in an epic battle with the Indiana Pacers during the first half of Sunday’s Game 4 playoff matchup. Part of that matchup included yet another long, full court pass between the Cleveland Cavaliers duo.

Love, as you might guess, was the passer and LeBron was again the receiver.

The play came in the final minute of the second quarter, with Love nabbing a rebound from the right block and LeBron jetting down the floor.

Love’s pass was perfectly placed, and Paul George just didn’t have the strength to keep him from getting the and-1.

Cleveland completed the series sweep on Indiana with the win, 106-102.