Miami players had to have eyes as big as saucers. They would get the ball looking to drive the lane in Game 1 of the NBA Final — and there was no 7’2” wall of Roy Hibbert there to greet them like last round. It had to feel like an empty expressway to the rim.
So attack the Heat did, getting into the lane far more than they did last series against the Pacers.
But they didn’t finish. They left a lot of points on the rim that they could have used in a four-point loss.
On the night, the Heat were 15-of-26 in the restricted area, or 57.7 percent shooting. On the season, the Heat shot a league-best 67.2 percent in the restricted area.
Within five feet of the rim, the Heat were 16-of-30 (53.3 percent, 14 percentage points off their season average).
It wasn’t LeBron James, he was 5-of-5 in the restricted area and 6-of-8 inside 5 feet. But that means the rest of the Heat players were below .500 shooting in the restricted area. (For the record, LeBron was 1-of-8 outside five feet, his jumper did not show up for Game 1.)
All of this is something the Heat can fix, but they need to focus on it. The Spurs are too good for the Heat to leave points on the table and expect to win.