In Game two, where all the attention was put on LeBron James, he silenced critics, leading the Heat in a crucial win on the road to tie the NBA Finals series at 1-1. Tonight, the series goes back to Miami for two games. With Miami stealing one game from San Antonio on the road, it puts them a very good position at this point in the series.
Miami has the opportunity to take a 3-1 series lead over the next two games. However, they will be challenged by a tough San Antonio team who will be looking to make a statement in tonight’s game. As for the Heat, the game plan for tonight is simple. They must play together, play smart and create less turnovers.
LeBron James posted a 35-point, 10 rebound performance to overcome the criticism he faced from game one. However, the criticism does not stop here. In fact, his level of play will be critiqued more and the team will depend on him to take charge in tonight’s game. With the home court as an advantage, there is no reason why James should not have another great performance to lead the Heat in a victory. However, he will be challenged.
Dwayne Wade has proved himself to be pretty consistent. Although he only scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in game two, his production is highly valuable to Miami’s success on offense and defense. He must continue penetrate to the basket, make plays for himself and get to the free throw line. Like James, Wade must continue to play high caliber basketball if he wants to win his fourth NBA championship with the Heat organization.
Chris Bosh could not have picked a better time to play consistently. There have been instances where he did not have an impact in games for the Heat. However, even dating back to the regular season, he has played well against the Spurs. He must continue to score on offense but crash the boards as well, on offense and defense. Last game, he scored 18 points but only grabbed three rebounds. It is very important for Bosh to dominate the boards alongside with Chris Anderson. If it were not for LeBron grabbing 10 rebounds, Bosh and Anderson would have only combined for 12 of Miami’s 38 total rebounds.
Last game, the Heat did well in terms of limiting Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green’s production on the court, putting all the offense weight on the shoulders of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginoboli. It is obvious that Duncan and Parker will impact the game for the Spurs, but it is their bench play than can hurt Miami. Ginoboli scored 19 of the 37 bench points for the Spurs, which is a significant amount in terms of offensive production within the starting five for the Spurs. Without Duncan and Parker, the remainder of the Spurs lineup contributed a total of 20 points. Thus, it is very important for Miami to continue to defend well against San Antonio overall, but specifically the bench players who can make a strong impact within minutes during a game.
Free throw shooting will be important throughout the remainder of the series. If James and Wade continue to attack the basket, the chance for free throw opportunities will increase. The Heat shot 76 percent (16-for-21) from the free throw line in comparison to the Spurs, shooting 60 percent (12-for-20) from the charity stripe.
Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen’s production will be the X-factors for the Heat. If both players can get into a rhythm early on, the chances of success in terms of their offensive production will create huge dividends for Miami to take a 2-1 series lead tonight.
Tip-off is set for at 9 p.m. eastern time tonight on ABC.