Erik Spoelstra has stopped playing games and is now going the only direction he really can — Chris Bosh will be back in the starting lineup for the Miami Heat, he announced before Game 2 in Oklahoma City Thursday night.
But unlike during much of the season when both Bosh and Udonis Haslem would start, Haslem will come off the bench in Game 2 and Shane Battier will start. This shouldn’t be a huge strain on Bosh, who played 34 minutes off the bench in Game 1 but was not a huge factor in the game. They need him to be in Game 2, starting may help that.
The Heat also need to establish Bosh in the paint early — 10 of his 11 shot attempts in Game 1 were from outside 10 feet. They need to get him going in closer to the basket, then work out from there.
Miami will need some better play out of its bench in Game 2. One plus there will be the return of three-point specialist James Jones will be available, he was out for Game 1 with a migraine headache.
There was not a lot of other pregame news from before Game 2. Thunder coach Scott Brooks scoffed at the idea of going even smaller and playing Kevin Durant at the five. Just because LeBron has done it doesn’t mean the Thunder should try it.
Also, the Thunder crowd will be in the alternating blue and white t-shirt sections we saw earlier in the playoffs, not the all blue from Game 1.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.