How Will Miami Heat Win the 2013 NBA Title?
Still, there's no reason for panic from Miami at this point. The Heat are a resilient and supremely talented team themselves.
If Miami makes just a few adjustments and returns to its norm in a few of the game's areas, then it won't be long until the Heat reclaim the series lead and eventually hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy again.
LeBron James Takes More Free Throws
LeBron James played an all-around great game in the NBA Finals opener, as he racked up a triple-double. Still, there were a couple of unsettling things to be found in the stat sheet.
On his way to scoring 18 points, LeBron took five three-pointers (and made only one) and got to the foul line just four times.
While he is an elite three-point shooter, LeBron is nearly unstoppable close to the rim. Plain and simple: He needs to play closer to the basket. James has to play in the post and drive to the basket more.
In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron dominated the game by constantly attacking the paint. He finished with 16 free-throw attempts. He's also averaging eight attempts from the foul line in the postseason.
Against an excellent team like the Spurs, four free-throw attempts from James didn't cut it in Game 1 and won't moving forward.
Chris Bosh Cutting Down on Three-Point Attempts
Chris Bosh took and missed all four of his three-point attempts in the Game 1 loss, so it's easy to get on his case about cutting down on his outside shots. But it's truly not a shot he should be taking with so much regularity.
He's done a great job of hitting the shot in the postseason (42.9 percent), but that's not representative of his actual ability from that range. His 28.1 percent shooting on three-pointers in the regular season gives a more accurate depiction.
As Erik Spoelstra alluded to in his postgame press conference on Thursday, the Spurs want Bosh to shoot from outside the arc.
Bosh needs to stick with his sweet spot, and that's mid-range jumpers from 16-23 feet. Among those who took the shot often during the regular season, he was the most accurate from that distance according to Hoopdata. He also hit 3-of-5 mid-range jumpers in Game 1.
Role Players Hitting Their Threes
The Heat were the second most efficient three-point shooting team in the regular season, but that success hasn't translated to the postseason.
Miami counts on role players such as Ray Allen, Shane Battier, (now) Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers to knock down open three-point attempts created by the Heat's slashers, LeBron and Dwyane Wade.
Ray Allen seems to have gotten out of his slump after consecutive strong performances, and it's time for the others to do the same.
Dwyane Wade Playing Better
From an individual performance standpoint, Dwyane Wade's 2013 postseason has been filled with many more downs than it has ups.
However, Wade played a solid game in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals and then had an excellent first half in Game 1 against the Spurs. But then Wade disappeared again, as he was held scoreless in the fourth quarter on Thursday.
Miami doesn't need Wade to score 30 points per game (not that he could do that right now anyway), but he needs to be the efficient and attacking player he was in the six quarters prior to the second half of Game 1.
That player sets up drive-and-kick opportunities for shooters and relieves some of the pressure away from LeBron.
The Heat's Point Guards Contain Tony Parker
The Heat's biggest concern in this series is Tony Parker. He's having a tremendous postseason and has further cemented himself as one of the game's elite players.
While LeBron James will guard Parker in late-game situations, it's up to Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to handle those duties until then.
While Parker didn't have a flashy stat line in Game 1 (21 points and six assists), he made the Heat's guards look silly at times (especially Cole). Plus, Parker didn't finish with a single turnover. Considering Miami's defense is built on forcing turnovers, that's a problem.
Cole and Chalmers can't be expected to shut down Parker, but they need to prevent the Spurs' top guard from carving up the Miami defense, whether that's from scoring or creating opportunities for others.