After Miami dropped Game 6 in Indiana and managed to score just 77 points in the process, it’s clear that the Heat will need a much more comprehensive team effort if they’re going to be able to win Monday night’s Game 7.
LeBron James led the way for the Heat just as he’s done throughout the series, but he got little to no support from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who were both so instrumental all year long in Miami winning more games than any team in the league throughout the regular season.
Wade specifically doesn’t look right out there, and has been hampered by a knee injury that’s seemed to limit him severely over the last couple of games. But he was the one speaking up after the most recent loss saying that he and Bosh need to be more involved over the course of the game in order for the team to achieve success.
“We’ve got to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have our opportunities to succeed throughout the game,” Wade said, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. “That’s something we’re going to have to look at as a team.”
“We’ve got guys individually who want to play better,” Wade said. “But we’ve got to try to help each other out in this locker room and not leave it up to the individual to self-will it.”‘
LeBron would be that individual, but aside from that dominant takeover in the third quarter of Game 5, he’s been facilitating as much as possible, while still taking the bulk of his team’s shots.
“I mean, we can state the obvious; they’re both struggling,” James said of Wade and Bosh. “When you’re struggling, the best thing to get is a layup or a dunk. [Wade] missed a couple of them … Chris is struggling with his shot and him hurting his ankle didn’t help.”
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra took responsibility after Game 6, and said it was on him to find a way to get Wade and Bosh more involved offensively.
“If anything, it’s on me,” Spoelstra said. “I got to find ways to get those guys comfortable in areas where they can be aggressive. And that will be my focus the next 48 hours. They’re obviously a major part of what we do, and I need to find a way to get them in places where they can be really aggressive.
“Now Game 7s, adversity and backs against the wall, I know those two men’s character. This is when they come up big in these moments.”
That last part was Spoelstra issuing a challenge to his superstars to step up, but it’s unclear if they’ll be physically able to do that. What’s more likely is that we see an incredible do or die performance out of LeBron James, but whether or not he can do it all by himself in an elimination game against the Pacers’ defense will remain to be seen.