Blog Entry

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:44 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 3:15 pm
Posted by Royce Young

LeBron James tweeted before Game 5, "Now or never." Well, this time with the Heat backed up to elimination, it's a little more now or never. And if they happen to win Game 6, it'll be now or never again.

Point being, this series isn't over yet. But the Heat have to somehow get right. They've dropped two straight to the Mavs and trail for the first time in this series. Dallas appears to be getting stronger as the Heat seem to be tightening and wearing down. If Miami is to get this to a seventh and deciding game, it's going to have to focus on a lot of stuff, but here are five things that come to mind.

1. Come on, LeBron. He had maybe the quietest triple-double in NBA Finals history. Not many players have had a triple-double in The Finals but LeBron's 17-10-10 wasn't good enough. Why? For starters, because the Heat lost. But just one basket in the fourth quarter and two points isn't good enough. It is for Shawn Marion or even Chris Bosh, but we're talking about the best player in basketball. The two-time MVP. The microscope on him isn't always fair, but it's reality.

The NBA is a game about legacy. Fans love it. Media soak that stuff up. And players think about it. LeBron has been talking about establishing himself as a global brand for a long time. He's pretty much there. But he also wants to be one of the greats. And going 0-2 in Finals appearances isn't a good way to start. Yeah, he's still just 26 and a three-peat could be waiting at any moment for him. But we all live in the present. And for real this time, it's now or never for him.

Until next time, of course.

2. Kill the offensive glass. Miami's offense was good in Game 5, but what separated the Heat in Game 1 was 16 offensive rebounds. And in Game 3, a win, the Heat pulled in nine in the first quarter alone. Offensive rebounding hasn't been part of Miami's strength this season necessarily, but any time you get an offensive rebound obviously it gives you another possession, but it takes an extra one away from the Mavericks. And in close games like these, one or two extra possessions is sometimes the difference between winning and losing.

3. Pray the Mavs don't get hot again. The Mavs shot 56.5 percent from the field in Game 5 and went a ridiculous 13-19 from 3. With the way the Mavs have shot this postseason, the Heat have really been living on the edge in this series. Their defense has been terrific, but at some point, the Maverick shooters were going to have One of Those Games.

Game 5 happened to be it. The Lakers thought that plan wasn't sustainable, but Dallas kept it up for four games. The Thunder did better, but Dallas still knocked down a bunch of shots. And if the Mavs have it in them one more time to hit crazy buzzer-beating 3s and impossible runners, Miami might not survive.

4. Pray Dwyane Wade is healthy. LeBron is certainly capable of carrying the team, because no matter what he's done the past few games, he's still awesome. But take away Wade and now the Mavs can really zero in on LeBron. Every catch, he'll be doubled. Every time he puts it on the floor, the defense will collapse. Wade takes a ton of pressure off LeBron and truthfully, allows him to settle into a distributing role, something he's more than willing to do. (Also known as "shrinking.")

Wade might not be 100 percent, but a 60 percent Wade is better than anything else. Playing with a busted hip in Game 5 he still scored 23 points. The Heat need not just his scoring, but his presence to win.

5. Don't panic. Last season, the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead to Los Angeles, needing one on the road to win the trophy. And the Lakers took both games. Dirk said it after the Game 5 win -- it's as if both teams just protected the home court. The Heat won two, Dallas three. Now the Mavs have to win one on the road to get it done.

For the Heat, it's all about Game 6. Win that one and now you're in control. Now, you've got a Game 7 on your home floor. The Mavs will probably say things like, "This is our Game 7," or "This is a must-win for us," because even though those things aren't true, they know that winning Game 6 will be easier than winning a Game 7 in Miami.

The Heat just have to step back and settle down a bit. They're behind in the series, yes. But they're far from out of it. They have the home floor and they have a terrific team. The closing game is the hardest one to win so the pressure is on the Mavs to get it done. The Heat will be desperate, but now's not the time to freak.

Since: Jan 17, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:10 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

The key to beating Dallas is hitting the mid-range jumper.  Lebron James and Chris Bosh were two of the best mid-range shooters in the league this year (so was Dirk).   If they fill Dallas with a steady diet of mid-range jumpers in the first half, then the Dallas defense will have to commit to closing on the shooter which will expose cutters to the basket for lay ups and the corner 3 point shot.  Lebron has actually shot the mid-range jumper well in this series; he simply hasn't taken enough attempts.  He hits that shot better than he does 3 point shots or layups at the rim in half court sets.

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:54 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

Nice article... However, I never read Coach Eric in this article.... He is being out-coached by RiCK C.  He is one of the worst coach of all time... Rick already made numerous adjustments in the this finals... Eric? none!!!  Srategies are now overturned... In the Heat-Bulls series... The Heat played solid defense in every 4th quarter and force the bulls to commit costly mistakes at the end.... the result, Heat is now in the finals. Unfortunately in this finals, the Mavs is using the same stategy what the heat did to bulls...... Is a karma btch?  For Heat to win this finals, LBJ should show up.... He should force the issue inside... dont settle to much for jumpshots.. because your not a decent shooter... Eric try to use your bench..... Do miracle happens? Lets wait in see...

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: June 11, 2011 10:52 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

Whether it’s the hangover from Game 5 of the Celtics series or the bad aftertaste from “The Decision”, basketball fans everywhere seem to have forgotten just how great LeBron James is. I just don’t understand how a fan of basketball can watch LeBron practice his profession and not be left in awe. From the chase down blocks to the amazing dunks, the acrobatic shots and the triple-doubles that seem to come nightly, LeBron excels at the sport of basketball in a way most can only dream of. Whether or not you like the person LeBron James is or if you agree with the career path he has chosen, it is hard for you to sit there and not appreciate what LeBron can do on the court and what those performances do for the game of basketball off the court.

Hopefully the championship(s) will eventually be won and we can all put that particular argument to rest. With LeBron having so many seasons still left to play and bring home a title, we shouldn’t judge him on his ring count until his relatively young career is finished. Until then, let us all appreciate the marvel that he is on the hardwood. LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet. Whether or not you are willing to admit to it is an entirely different question.

Since: Jun 11, 2011
Posted on: June 11, 2011 9:20 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

I'm tired of hearing how it is Labron who can turn it up when he wants to and that his talent is supior to the rest of the players in the league. The evidence is to the contrary. Let's give the Mavs some credit for some good old fashioned defense......Michael Jordan, when confronted with a defense that played him hard on the inside, took his talents to the outside and punished those who tried this. Same with Kobe. Labron dose not have the skill set of a complete player. Ask Boston a year ago. Dirk is clearly the most talented player in this series!!! Being big, strong and fast is great when it comes with a complete package. That package also includes Basketball IQ. Labron not Labrain........

Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: June 11, 2011 4:18 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

I agree with the essence of you statement, but disagree with all of it.  Lebron is the best BASKETBALL PLAYER in the world.  His size and speed are unmatched, his vision (for his size) is unmatched and his explosiveness (with his size) is unmatched.  But being the best basketball player in the world, doesn't mean you're clutch, or a good teammate or even a smart individual.  So many of us around the country try to take away from his unequalled ability saying he isn't the best, but most of us are bringing his personal life and immature attidtude into account.  When in reality, in just a sports sense, he is the best BASKETBALL player in the world.  I hate Lebron the person, I love Lebron the basketball player.  But if he doesn't figure out how to step up in the big moments, get a better PR guy and become lovable, he'll always be loathed and ridiculed even if he gets his 5, 6 or 7 rings.  Peace out!

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:21 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

If I hear Lebron James is the "best player in basketball" again I'm gonna puke. He's not even the best player on his own team.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: June 11, 2011 2:52 am

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

The only way I see the Heat winning is by being extra aggressive on defense. They cant outround dallas.......and they are going to have accept the Mavs are a brilliant shooting team. But if they get turnovers, they can win. Pressure is on Kidd and terry and Barea. If they dont turn it over, then the Heat probably cant win a shoot out.

Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 8:18 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

Spolestra should change the staring lineup go with whats working for him . I will star udonis haslem and chalmers .

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: June 10, 2011 7:15 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

since game 6 has a high chance of coming down to the wire, doule Dirk if he gets the ball out at the top of the key.  I hope they don't and Dirk burns them again, but he's been really clutch, make someone else beat you.  I would come off Tyson, even if he gets the ball down low, his chances of making a shot or FT is low.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: June 10, 2011 3:20 pm

Survivor Miami: 5 things the Heat have to do

6. Play defense and run the court for 48 minutes. Bosh got smoked by Dirk several times- you don't mind the trick shots but you Do mind Dirk blowing by a guy not even in a stance. Lebron and others need to run the floor and get back. Leaking out worked for them early on- they are always looking for the easy layup but there were too many times where the Heat 5th man got back to play D way too late. This led to wide open shots.

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