NBA Finals 2011: Chris Bosh and 5 Players Who Need To Step Up
We are 96 minutes into the NBA Finals. So far we have seen exciting plays and moments.
With the series knotted up at one game apiece, there are obviously things that the two teams have done well so far. While they will look to do those things in Game 3 and beyond, there are some players who have to get their heads into the series.
Here are five players who need to rebound from lacking performances so far, and play to their capabilities.
Chris Bosh's 19 points and nine rebounds in Game 1 (a Miami victory) overshadowed how poorly he shot the ball. His shooting percentage didn't get any better in Game 2. This time around he wasn't as aggressive, so his game was more widely seen as poor.
He's shooting 9-of-34 in the two games combined, and considering the fact that Miami's fourth-best player is far from being as good as Bosh, he's got to do better than that.
There are a number of players on the Heat who are not expected to have dominant games, so it is important for Bosh, along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, to have great showings. It has to be that way for them to win this series.
One of the biggest storylines of the playoffs so far has been the youthful play of the 38-year-old Jason Kidd. All spring long, he has given the Mavericks everything you could want in a point guard. He's defended multiple positions, provided leadership, ran the offense and been active on the glass.
With his age, any contribution he makes is welcomed. However, his play has dropped off a little in the first two games of the Finals.
He has not shot the ball well, and is working with a 5.5-to-4 assist-to-turnover ratio so far.
Kidd controlled the game the last few minutes of Game 2. He's capable of doing that the entire time he's on the floor. There is no better point guard in this series, and he has to conduct the tempo of the game.
Dominant point guard play could really swing this series in the Mavs' favor.
Peja Stojakovic had been able to put out the best of what he has left in his career during the first three rounds. He didn't show any over-the-top flashes of his Sacramento Kings days, but he made the most of his opportunities he received on the floor. Any time he was left open even a little, he usually drained the jumper.
He has been nearly invisible in the Finals though.
He logged only 15 minutes in Game 1, where he was way off target and a defensive liability. He didn't even attempt a shot in Game 2 before he was yanked after only five minutes, of which he coughed up a turnover and continued his ineffective defense.
No one is asking for All-NBA defense on Peja's part, though. All the Mavericks want from him is instant offense. As soon as he comes off the bench he's got to be ready to knock down open shots. He hurts the team by passing up open shots for whatever reason. His shooting is the only thing he really has to offer.
With Miami's defense, hitting shots is crucial. Any open attempts available must be taken and made. Peja has to bring that to the table, or he's useless.
Jose Juan Barea
J.J. Barea has been a part of the Mavericks' underwhelming bench play thus far in the Finals. He's shot 32 percent so far and hasn't kept the defense on its heels nearly as much as he had done in previous rounds.
His speed and penetration all playoffs long have been key for the Mavs. That opens up the game so much for them. Any kind of variety they can get on offense is valuable. But Barea has been close to abysmal the last two games.
He can beat almost any defender off the dribble and get to the basket. The Mavs could definitely use Barea at his best to shake up their offense.
We have yet to see that Barea though.
Outside of the last seven minutes of Game 2, Jason Terry has not been spectacular in the Finals. One of the league's premier reserves can serve as an X-factor in this series, but he has been mostly inaccurate so far.
The Mavs bench has the potential to be the main difference in this series. It is way more capable than its Heat counterpart, and should have the clear edge every night. Terry, Stojakovic and Barea are the bench players who can make a killer impact as backups—Terry especially. He has starter talent and has only showed it sparingly in these two games. He's got to play like "The Jet."