What do you get when you combine two elite teams, a handful of future hall of famers, a triple double, ill-advised 3-pointer's from a Power Forward, and a sensational game clinching shot with less than a second left. Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals would be the answer. What we saw June 6th, on ABC was just the beginning of what will be a great NBA finals series as the San Antonio Spurs took game 1 by a score of 92-88.
With that said The Heat who seemed to have all the answers the first 3 quarters have many adjustments to make in game 2, and I'll highlight the ones that are a must if the Heat want to even this series at 1-1:
Maintain the defensive mindset/effort ALL game- Though they lost game 1 Miami played great defense for 3 quarters. It wasn't until the later moments of the game that we saw this team start to break down defensively. Could it be fatigue carrying over from the Conference Finals?
Maybe, but the truth is the Spurs are just that great of a team. You aren't going to shut down Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and the rest of that Spurs team the whole game, but you can put the pressure on them. Which we saw the Heat do early on in game 1 even causing Tim Duncan to go scoreless in the 1st quarter. Keep that up, and it could help lead to a win.
The Bosh Effect- Chris Bosh (13 pts, 6-16 FG, 0-4 3-pt) in the minds of probably 99.9% of Miami Heat fans is the reason the team lost game 1 with so many ill-advised 3-pt shots down the stretch (took the most shots in the 4th). For the Heat to be effective on offense Bosh is going to have to cut his jumpers significantly, and start attacking.
This Spurs defense is talented, and elite but it's not the Pacers defense that punished Bosh in the paint. With that said he will have to take advantage of that, and do more in the post as well as hitting his normal mid-range jumpers. And if the Spurs are going to continue to leave Bosh open, he has to make them pay.
No more vanishing acts for Wade- Dwyane Wade did have a productive 3 quarters in game 1. However in the 4th it was as if Wade were at home watching with the rest of us. It's as simple as it sounds, D Wade (despite ailing knee) needs to show up in each quarter this series for his team to have the best chance to win.
The Spurs are indeed a championship squad, but if Dwyane Wade is producing at a high level there isn't anyone on the Spurs perimeter than can stop him. And it'll make his 4-time MVP teammates job seem a lot less challenging.
LeBron has to "step up"- It seems kind of odd to criticize a guy after he recorded a triple double (18 pts, 18 rebs, 10 ast) in the NBA Finals, and was his teams most consistent weapon throughout the game. However I'm not criticizing the King's efforts in game 1, but I am pointing out two factors in which LBJ has to "step up". The first one being James has to attack more than feed. LeBron's ability to set up his teammates reminding folks of Magic Johnson at times is sensational, but it's clear that in this series the Heat are going to need him to be in "Cleveland mode" at times. This Spurs defense doesn't have the brute strength the Pacers had, and he needs to take advantage of that in the post.
The second is guarding Tony Parker. Parker has been sensational this post season, and was much of the same in Game 1. And despite hitting the all important shot with .2 seconds left while LeBron was guarding him the difficulty of the shot even had Parker in awe of what he did. LeBron's versatility on defense is key being able to guard 1-5 at any given moment for the Heat. With that said the Heat will need to switch up the assignments to attack Tony Parker defensively, but in those timely moments throughout the game LeBron has to be the one to step up.
Thanks for reading. Game 2 of the NBA Finals featuring the Miami Heat & San Antonio Spurs will be Sunday, June 9th at 8 PM ET. Broadcasted on ABC.