NBA Finals 2012: What Adjustments the Heat Must Make to Steal Game 2
The Miami Heat had their flaws exposed in Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, but this series is far from over as long as they find a way to steal Game 2 on the road in front of what is sure to be a loud and energized Oklahoma City crowd.
However to avoid heading home in an 0-2 hole, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to make some adjustments. If he doesn't, this series could very well get away from the Heat on Thursday night.
Here's a look at some ways to turn Miami's fortunes around.
1. Defense is the Best Offense
Who wins Game 2?
The Heat are at their best when they are pushing the ball in transition, but when you can't get a stop defensively, it becomes very hard to get easy baskets.
Oklahoma City scored on 21 of its last 29 possessions in Game 1. In addition, the Heat were outscored 24-4 in fast-break points.
Quite simply, you won't win many games that way.
Miami needs to play better defense and force turnovers so it can get out and run. If it doesn't, this could be ugly.
2. Start Chris Bosh and run the Offense Through Him
Bosh played 34 minutes in Game 1 and touched the ball a mere 26 times.
Miami must play the game inside-out and let Bosh be a facilitator at times. He is a presence on the block, and if they get the ball to the seven-time All-Star early enough in the shot clock, it at least forces the Thunder to decide what they want to do defensively.
Running things through Bosh will help Miami spread the floor better and hopefully make things easier on Dwyane Wade in an attempt to get him going.
3. Play LeBron James on Kevin Durant
LBJ is a superstar, but he needs to be one at both ends of the floor.
If Spoelstra won't play LeBron on Durant, James needs to demand that assignment. The great ones get it done at both ends of the floor, and when he's committed to playing at the defensive end of the floor, James can be as good as any defender in the NBA.
James may be Spoelstra's only option to slow down Durant in this series. It may cost James some energy at the offensive end of the floor, but that's something Miami has to live with right now.
4. Pressure Russell Westbrook
If the Heat allow the Thunder to run the pick-and-roll with Westbrook turning the corner easily, he will absolutely kill Miami with the mid-range jumper.
Miami must pick up the ball higher up, almost when it crosses half-court and stay in Westbrook's grill . The Heat have to force him to get rid of the ball early on and not allow him to get the Thunder into their sets easily.
If Westbrook is in a comfort zone, then it's game over.
5. Get Dwyane Wade Going
Finding a way to get Wade going early on could be the key to a Miami win.
It's been a chore all to itself, but another 7-of-19 performance from the floor and the Heat are in trouble. When Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier (29 points combined in Game 1) equal the scoring output of Bosh and Wade, then Miami has very little chance to come out victorious.
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