As a result of their painful Game 5 loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, not many people believe that the Miami Heat are capable of winning Game 6 in Miami. However, here are 10 reasons why I personally believe the Heat will pull it off on Sunday night.
Many of these reasons may be subjective rather than objective, but subjectivity is almost impossible to avoid when it comes to predictions. Also, many of the reasons are connected in some way. Enjoy!
This year, the Miami Heat are 9-1 at home in the playoffs, which simply explains that they have an upper hand over Dallas in Game 6. Although Heat fans certainly aren't the best fans in the world, I think that the electricity in the crowd will be at an all-time high, which will definitely fuel the players.
Undoubtedly, the Miami Heat bench plays better on its home floor. Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller have had good games in Dallas, but I expect them, as well as other bench players like Mike Bibby and even Juwan Howard, to play with even more passion. It would be great for the Heat if Chalmers, Miller and Bibby knock down some threes, while Haslem plays great D and Howard hits some open shots.
In Game 5, the Heat defense was unacceptable. Before Game 5, the Heat hadn't allowed over 100 points to an opponent in the playoffs. Erik Spoelstra is a good coach and I believe that he'll make the proper defensive adjustments. Also, the entire Heat team will play with increased defensive intensity on their home floor.
In Game 5, the Mavericks shot 56.5 percent from the field while hitting 13-of-19 three-point shots. Jason Terry was hitting crazy three-pointers while Dirk Nowitzki sank a high-arching rainbow three. The Mavs almost seemed lucky to be hitting shots like those. It isn't very likely that they will shoot that efficiently again—this also largely depends on the Miami Heat defense.
You know what's amazing? The last time the Mavs shot like they did in Game 5 of the Finals, they beat the Lakers by 40 points in Game 4 of the second round. How many points did the Miami Heat lose by in Game 5? Nine. And, at one point in the fourth quarter, the Heat were in really good position to win the game despite playing poorly! The Heat, if they play well, are in great position to win Game 6 because of this.
LeBron James is probably the most unpredictable sports figure in the world right now. He is puzzle that cannot be accurately solved. I have no way of knowing whether LeBron will play well on Sunday night. However, I have a feeling that he will realize the importance of this game and play his heart out. The home crowd will certainly help.
Sadly, I believe it is very likely that there will not be an NBA season next year. David Stern realizes this and I think he wants to extend the series so that the NBA will have as much basketball as possible for the fans. I won't be surprised if the Heat get more calls than the Mavs in Game 6. Stern has the power to make this happen. This relates to my next point.
Although this may seem cynical, the world runs on money. A Game 7 will generate a whole lot of interest and revenue that I'm sure the NBA would love. According to an article from Bill Simmons on Grantland.com, Disney will generate approximately $110 billion of extra revenue if there's a Game 7. Again, I really won't be surprised if some calls go the Heat's way in Game 6.
This year's NBA Finals have certainly been some of the best ever—the storylines and the games themselves have been fascinating. The matchup has been more than just a battle between two great teams—it has been a battle of different philosophies and a battle of good vs. evil. A Game 7 is necessary so that the series feels complete. With a Game 7, the 2011 NBA Finals may be the best of all time.