Thursday, June 14, 2012

THE FINALS: Game 2 Predictions

By Pete Certo

Game 2 Means Adjustments.  Let the Chess Match Begin...

As far as the Thunder are concerned, there doesn't seem to be much corrective action needed in their approach to the Heat.  Sure they were outplayed in the first half, but the reasons were that of fool's gold.  Miami was draining every three pointer, and that can act as a sucker-punch to a group of green players in their first Finals game.

As a corollary to that, the Thunder did show some virgin jitters - which was to be expected.  However they kept it close enough within striking distance that they were probably never worried.  Meanwhile it's a safe bet that the Heat fans never felt comfortable with the lead at any point during Game 1.  For the uninitiated, The Thunder have a strong knack of erasing massive deficits while you walk to the kitchen to get another slice of pizza.  The Thunder look good and they look comfortable.  As long as Westbrook's pissing contest with Durant,  I mean ego doesn't get out of control taking too many shots, barring an epic collapse, they look to be in good shape.

With regard to the Heat and what they need to change, anyone who knows basketball understands there is no other way to say this other than STOP TAKING JUMPERS.  It is absolutely ludicrous what happens to this team.  It's bad enough when their outside shots aren't falling, they still keep taking jumpers.  Now, since all of their outside shots were falling, it made them even more prone to continue to settle for jumpers.  It seemed as if the Thunder were playing a soft zone the entire game which would would explain why so many outside shots were taken by a team not named the Orlando Magic.  But it was man-to-man defense.  Sure the Thunder have some excellent defenders, but how many all-star selections and MVP trophies are there between James, Wade, and Bosh?
It just comes down to this:  DRIVE THE BALL.  Even if they just penetrated and kicked, at least the possible threat of lane penetration and paint points is there.  It opens up the offense and creates tons of options.  In Game 1, then Thunder realized Heat drives were few and far between and their defense adjusted.  In the NBA, you need a good combination of driving and outside shooting.  Mix it up Miami, you have proven time and again your team wins when you do this well.

A few side note tidbits:

When Shane Battier is your Halftime interview with Doris Burke, that is a clear indicator your team will NOT win the game.

Wade is clearly hurt.  We all know the knee is a problem, but he refuses to talk about it and acknowledge it.  That is admirable - to an extent.  He is playing so un-like himself that it almost reflects badly on him because James isn't getting much help.  It seems he would rather be viewed as washed-up or past his prime versus injured and playing through it.  Acknowledge the injury that we all already know about and move on.

No one really knows the extent of Bosh's injury.  It is a terrible injury to have because it is felt in every movement your body makes.  Bosh is toughing it out and playing well, but they should run some plays for him.  He is fantastic off the pick and roll, and it will pull OKC's big men away from the basket.

Does Miami run plays, because it sure doesn't seem like it.  Isolations only get you so far.  Looking back at the Boston series, after every time out, Boston would run a play and score.  Every time.  Take note, Spoels.
Miami is not known for having a deep bench, but Spoelstra's 6 1/2 man rotation is killing the Heat.  You mean to tell me Joel Anthony all of a sudden can't play anymore?  Juwan Howard can't pick up a few minutes here and there pulling veteran tricks to get a foul or two on Perkins or Ibaka?  Norris Cole can take two minutes a quarter?  All of those things add up to one thing:  Less wear and tear on James playing the 4 and 5 and also less energy expended by both Wade and James on bringing the ball up the times Chalmers does not.

Game 2 Prediction:
Miami: 89  OKC: 82

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