After watching Miami get owned... yet again by the Spurs. Here are my unsolicited "keys to the game" for Miami to win game 6 of the Finals.
1) Miami MUST stop Parkers (and Ginobili's) dribble penetration.
Its killing them. Its the only reason Miami can't stop the Spurs unless they are completely relentless on defense...which they were in games 2 and 4. Parker (and Ginobili) drove by Norris Cole (repeatedly) and Chalmers whenever they felt like it. Its pathetic to watch. That has to stop. Once Parker gets into the lane he collapses the defense... at which point he is extremely adept at finishing the drive or dishing to someone who is now wide open on the perimeter. If Miami closes hard enough on the open shooter, the shooter will either drive or start swinging the ball. Miami's D is now scrambling and all the Spurs have to do is wait for a mistake. This is really the Spurs entire offense. Worst case... layoff Parker if you can't stay infront of him and make him shoot long jumpers.
2) Lebron must start using counter moves on offense.
Basketball is not football. There is a level of finesse, deception and misdirection that even the most athletically gifted player needs to use to be effective. Many are saying Lebron wasn't agressive enough. I just think he didn't play smart enough. Diaw was effective guarding Lebron because there was no secondary moves. Lebron either tried the lumbering power moves to bully Diaw or he used a simple one step into a fadeaway jumper. As anyone who has played basketball knows, when you get a fat guy going one way and then counter, there's no possible way for Diaw to recover into proper position without fouling. If Lebron uses a few counter moves when he Iso's he will be much more effective.
3) Wade, Cole and Chalmers need to drive and dish.
Much like Parker does for the Spurs, Miami needs to create more chaos for the Spurs D. All to often the Miami offense is ridiculously predictable. I watched Wade repeatedly dribble from the corner into a midrange jumpshot...which is not falling very well for him. Even if it was falling, is that really the shot you want anyways? Look at the high % shots the Spurs take and then see what Miami does on the other end. There is a huge disparity in effective shot selection between the 2 teams. I want to see dribble penetration for nice easy layups/dump offs... or a kick back out to a wide open Allen or Miller. I'd also like to see more of the "push shot" from Cole and Chalmers. It is a high percentage shot which also doubles as an easy rebound because of how gently it hits the rim and bounces around.
4) Miami needs to stop taking midrange jumpers.
Unless the Miami player was left wide open in the midrange for a nice easy rythm shot.. stop settling for those dam midrange jumpers. In a 24 second shot clock there is no excuse for Miami to end up with a midrange jumper as their best shot. This means Wade, Bosh and Lebron need to cut that crap out. If you're open take it, but I don't want to see any of them dribbling into that shot. Its crap and its lazy basketball. Every missed jumper is a TURN OVER!
5) Miami needs to play smarter.
Lets face it... as a basketball "team" the Spurs are amazing to watch. Although the Spurs are not quite as athletic as Miami, they don't have to be because their execution is phenomenal as a unit. The Spurs play outside in. It starts with Parker's dribble penetration and kickouts. When the Miami players start adjusting by being a bit more sticky on the outside shooters, this is when Timmy goes to work in the paint. Miami needs to set a priority. They need to make 37 year old Tim Duncan the one who beats them... and hope he gets more tired in the second half. Have Lebron harass Parker fullcourt all game. Really get into him and make him work... work and work. Parkers on a gimpy hamstring anyways. How long do you think he will last under smothering defensive preasure? Have your other guys stick to the outside shooters Green, Lenoard, Neal and Bonner. Finally... play Duncan straight up. Birdman actually does a decent job on Duncan 1 on 1... and so does Bosh depending on his level of effort We all know thats going to be a losing battle for the Heat but it sure as hell beats whats been going on so far this series. The best part is... should you foul Duncan, its not like he's money from the line. He'll probably make 60-70% which is an acceptable trade off instead of the easy layups and open 3's the Spurs have been getting. In addition, Miami will finally stop scrambling on defense all the dam time which should allow them to have enough gas to make the Spurs pay for it on offense.
6) Miami needs to rebound better.
I want to see more offensive rebounding from the entire Miami team. When you say "rebounding", most players think just get the ball when it comes to them. Wrong! Its your ball, go get it. Rebounding actually starts before the shooter has been released the shot. You want solid boxouts and good anticipation. If someone shoots from the left corner and misses, 75% of the time the shot will end up on the right side of the basket. All to often Miami has NO ONE in effective rebounding position. It seems to be more luck then anything when Miami ends up with a board.
7) I want to see Bosh put the Spurs bigmen in foul trouble by attacking the basket.
Bosh was a beast in game 4 playing D. I didn't know he could still move like that since his knee injuries started a few years ago. Where's that activity level been all playoffs? If I we're the Heat coaches I'd be on his ass to get to the hoop. Forget all that "stretching the D" with Bosh's midrange shooting. Its exactly what the Spurs want. What the Spurs are afraid of is Bosh driving to the rim, the Spurs bigs getting in foul trouble and Bosh being a very effective free throw shooter for a bigman.
8) Moving with or without the ball.
Every Miami player should be in constant motion. Less motion is easier to defend for the Spurs and uses less energy. If Miami is really the more athletic and better conditioned team... lets see it. I remember Lebron and Wade 30 seconds before halftime in game 4... I had never seen them so winded. They were really hustling that game. We need more of that. If a Maimi player finds himself stationary for longer then a second or 2, the Spurs defender is actively resting with them. Punish the Spurs cardio.
1. Parker gets into the lane. That's what he does, then he hits floaters. You can only stop his penetration for so long, which is why he looks like a top 5 MVP canidate every year.
2. Miami can't rebound better. They were last in the league in rebounding. That's their weakness, Indiana exploited it and now the Spurs are.
3. Bosh needs to attack the rim. BUT everyone talked about how great Lebron was by improving as a player and going into the post more. The flip side of the coin is if Lebron goes in, then Bosh has to come out for spacing.
4. Miami is the more atheltic team? Yes, I'll give you Lebron and Bosh obviously, but Wade has lost a step and a half, Battier is a glorified thug because he has no athleticism, Chalmers is solid but not nba-special-athlete, Cole is getting roasted by Parker so bad that he is a liability and Ray Allen and Mike Miller has one good leg between the two of them on defense.
Real Key for a Miami Win: Lebron scoring 35, 13 and 9.
Miami can win simply by playing better, not just by LeBron dominating. They can rebound better. The Spurs were the second worst offensive rebounding team in the league in the regular season, so the Heat should be able to keep them off the boards (which they did better in game 5).
To win, the Heat simply can't be beat in transition. The Heat's half-court defense is outstanding and can really limit the Spurs, but that doesn't matter if they get beat down the floor and give up post entry passes five seconds into the shot clock. The Heat were obliterated in transition in game 5. For them to win, they need to turn the Spurs into a halfcourt team. Then they can force TOs and contested jumpers, which can help Miami get transition opportunities for itself. The Heat were dominated from an effort standpoint in game five and they can't win just relying on talent alone.
I find a few of those points invalid. The Heat actually played about the same as the Spurs in many areas ( Heat had 5 less TOs, only 2 less rebounds, etc). The Spurs shot 60% (Spurs had 16 less shots and 5 more makes than the Heat) while the Heat shot 43%, you can't win a game with that. Lebron was held to 8-22 which is horrible, he has to shoot 55%+ because he's easily capable of that with his ability to find easy baskets. Chalmers was 2-10, basically both of the Heat's PG's are trash.. They can't pass or shoot consistently, if I'm Spo I throw in a no PG lineup with Allen starting because he actually scored 21 in that game. The Heat just are getting beat in every aspect of the Spurs offense: 3's, penetration, mid-range, etc. They have to cool down the Spurs offense if they want to win. They can't allow open three's and they have to clog up the lane. Parker struggles to find open lanes with Lebron on him and they can't allow penetration on Green's side of the court as it leaves him wide open. Honestly if that game happens again, the Spurs are really just unbeatable when they shoot that well.
Honestly last game the heat had more assits, offensive rebounds and less turn overs. They just gotta play like they want it... And use the Birdman.