NBA Finals 2011: How Miami Heat Can Win Without a Big Game from LeBron James
LeBron James’ Struggles Don’t Have To Doom Miami Heat In 2011 NBA Finals
When he’s on his game, LeBron James can be the most dominant offensive weapon in the NBA. His apparent inability to take over the NBA Finals as a scorer has been held up as the primary factor that has driven Miami to the brink of elimination.
For all that Miami would be a lot better off if James were scoring 30 points a game in this series, his scoring line is not the only factor in the Heat’s success. After all, LeBron’s slump has included his 17-point effort in Game 3, and that was a Miami victory.
A closer look at that win provides some hints as to what Miami can do to ensure a win tonight, with or without James waking up from his daze. In the first place, Dwyane Wade must resume his brilliant play, taking over as primary scorer in LeBron’s “absence.”
In addition, James must continue the sharp passing that has marked his play in the Finals; his triple-double on Thursday was his third straight game with at least 7 assists. Even if his shot isn’t falling, James’ value as a decoy creates opportunities for everyone else.
Finally, James and the rest of the Heat must step up their defensive play. After allowing five Mavs to score in double figures for two consecutive losses, Miami has to get back to the kind of lockdown defense that held Shawn Marion and J.J. Barea to a combined 6-for-20 shooting night in Game 3.
If the Heat execute in those key areas, another pedestrian shooting night from LeBron won’t be enough to keep Miami from surviving to extend the series.
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