No Time To Panic For Miami
While LeBron detractors…haters are falling over themselves to clown the night away on Twitter, they may want to take a moment to reconsider prematurely celebrating. Funny, as most people point to James’ premature ‘coronation’ as their justification for disliking the man. Whatever their reasons may be, it seems like an overwhelming majority of folks are rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Personally, I don’t have a ‘dog in the fight’ as a lifelong Laker fan. That said, I still love and appreciate basketball, and I’m hoping we at least get a good series out of the match-up many NBA fans wanted to see. Predictably, the Heat looked like a tired group on Tuesday night in OKC. Coming off that grueling 7-game series with Boston, that had to have been a concern for Miami fans. James had his moments, but still settled for too many fadeaways, and too many contested jump-shots. More confusing than anything, I’m not quite certain why Dwyane Wade is getting a pass? The 8 assists are nice, but without a few buckets after the game had been decided, Wade (4-15 fg at one point) seemed to be most affected by the lack of rest. Then again, ‘trying’ to chase these young Thunder players around, when already dead tired, might do that to you.
The real trouble for Miami is the fact that OKC got 60% of their scoring (63 of the team’s 105 points) from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. If that trend continues, it will be a quick and unfortunate series for the Heat. In a game where OKC only had 3 players reach double-figures, and Miami gets 29 points out of Battier and Chalmers, you’d think a double-digit loss would be unlikely. Trouble is, on a night where Wade is struggling to produce, the Heat are going to need more than 10 points, five rebounds from Chris Bosh. I realize he’s still working his way back from injury, but if he’s able to play 34 minutes, then Miami will simply need more productivity out of him.
Full disclosure, I picked OKC in 6 for this series and stand by that prediction, but still wouldn’t be surprised if Miami were able to get their legs beneath them, and steal Game 2. The battle of coaching adjustments may end up being the difference in the series, as Coach Spoelstra is going to need to make some adjustments to his situational offensive schemes. At times, even in the biggest of moments, Miami’s offense continues to display that look of a lackluster pick-up game. What should be a scary thought for Miami fans is the fact that James Harden was held (foul trouble) in check with just five points, three assists. If you’ve been watching his steady improvement, you’ll know it isn’t likely that he’ll fail to reach double-digits in either points or assists from here on out. Game 2 is on Thursday night. We’ll see if a day’s rest, and some timely adjustments can make a difference for James’ Heat.
Jabari A. Davis
@RealTalkOnSprts on Twitter