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Five keys for Miami to become NBA champions

Jun 11, 2012, 8:05 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Seven Getty Images

No doubt, Miami can win these NBA finals. They may be mild underdogs, but they are in this. LeBron can get the ring he craves.

Yes, I picked Oklahoma city to win (in six). It’s not that the Heat don’t have the talent, I’m just not convinced that for four out of seven games they can execute for 48 minutes at the level it will take for them to win this series.

What do they need to ex? Glad you asked. Here are the five keys to Miami beating Oklahoma City in the NBA finals.

1) LeBron James needs to be exceptional. This is not the “LeBron James needs to be clutch” argument, unless (like me) you consider the entire finals clutch. Besides, like Game 6 against Boston, you can be clutch from the opening tip and not need to make a shot late.

But right now the Heat cannot score enough points to keep up with the Celtics — let alone a team with an powerful offense like the Thunder — unless LeBron James puts up monster numbers. He has to play like the MVP and then some. It’s what they’ve become. He needs to be getting those points in attack mode driving the lane, but if he wants to have one of those “I can’t miss from the midrange” games like he had in Game 6 against Boston the Heat will take it.

2) Miami needs focused, intense defense. All the time. Miami has the best defense that Oklahoma City has seen this playoffs — they are athletic, they are long, they can clog passing lanes and force you into isolation plays. Miami loves to switch on pick-and-rolls and they can do that without creating some of the mismatches that the Thunder exploit against other teams. The Heat can force turnovers and instantly spin those into dramatic transition points the other way. Miami can slow the Thunder down.

Except…

Boston — the 25th best offense in the NBA during the regular season — put up more than 100 points twice and more than 90 points two other times on that Heat defense in the last series. Miami did not bring much focus and intensity on defense every game, or even every quarter of every game.

Miami can’t do that in this series — you give the Thunder offense a crack in the door they will blow it open and run you over. Miami just needs to be focused, they need to use whatever emotional edge they can to bring that defensive effort every game.

3) Heat spot up shooters have to knock down shots. When Miami beat Oklahoma City at home on April 4, their spot up shooters hit 9-of-18 looks, 6-of-10 from three (they were 7-of-21 on spot ups in their loss to this team). Oklahoma City made a point of really showing out on the pick-and-roll, the big jumping out very early and hit to cut off driving lanes. The Thunder were very aggressive. The price for that is the Heat are one or two passes away from someone else getting a good look. LeBron and Dwyane Wade are willing passers, but the Heat shooters have been hit and miss these players. They have to knock down those looks to win.

4) Chris Bosh needs to play more minutes, step up on court. Bosh is huge for the Heat’s offense and you saw that in Game 7 against Boston — when LeBron and Wade are driving the lane, Bosh puts pressure on the opposing big because you can’t cheat off him to protect the rim or he will knock down threes. He needs to do that in an expanded roll against the Thunder. He also will need to be big on the boards — in their two regular season meeting the team that controlled the glass won and this series will see more of the same.

5) Dwyane Wade needs to physically and mentally be ready to go. Dwyane Wade has been good these playoffs, but has been battling a left knee problem and has not been outstanding, other than for spurts. He needs to have some better-than-good offensive games, which will not be easy with Thabo Sefolosha getting time on him. What’s more, he needs to be good on defense again — he gambled a lot against the Celtics and at times that was exposed. Do that against the Thunder and they will make you pay fast and every time.

  1. jtchernak - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    I could only guess this was written by Kurt because he never gives credit to the celtics and always makes excuses for the heat

    • truthplainandsimple - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      The title of this post says…”Five keys for Miami to become NBA champions”

      People can’t be this stupid.

      • turnmymicup - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        LMAO

      • turnmymicup - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        LMAO

  2. daniel10017 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Five Keys for Miami to become NBA Champions (by Dan):
    1) Fire Erik Spoelstra
    2) Fire Erik Spoelstra
    3) Fire Erik Spoelstra
    4) Fire Erik Spoelstra
    5) Put Pat Riley or Phil Jackson as Head Coach

    • turnmymicup - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      Fire Spoelstra for what? Here he is again in the NBA FINALS after winning the EAST 2 yrs in a row. Number 5 has to be the worse though. I can tell you put a lot of thought into this list. Good job Dan.

  3. reedme16 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Why is it that all analyst are focused on OKC scoring and not and not paying any attention to the fact they have not faced a defense as good as Miami’s. Every team OKC has faced have been offense orientated teams that lacked significant perimeter defense. The Pacers and the Celtics are better on defense than any of the teams the Thunder faced in the West. And the Heat are better on defense than both of them! Im a fan of both teams but this scoring argument makes no since to me. Especially Miami has been playing without Bosh!

  4. gotampabay52 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Go heat

  5. bucrightoff - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    6) Have the refs hand them a game or two

  6. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    7) have all the crybabies shut up.

  7. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    This should be a great series. Labron against Durant. 3 time MVP against 3 time scoring champ. All crybabies stay home.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      All crybabies stay home? How do you expect to compete without Wade?

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh LeBron has been doing everything for the Heat without Wade playing solid.

        I still don’t buy into the “Wade is an elite superstar” … sorry, averaging 5 points in the 1st half in a 7 game series against Celtics is awful. When Mario Chalmers is playing his tail off and at times making more plays, thats a slap to Wades status.

        LeBron has carried this team, Bosh went down and Wade has been hurt and starting slow and making bad mental errors, fouls, and being taken out of halfs/games.

        If your a basketball fan you would appreciate LeBrons perfromances, 2 of which haven’t happened since the 60’s …… all the Blog losers that log-in to bash a great player can sucka D

  8. cantonbound13 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    5 Keys for Miami to become NBA Champions:

    1. Refs put Wade & James at the line 40 times a game, yet again.
    2. Durant gets injured.
    3. LeBron doe not take the last shot in a close game.
    4. Somehow the Heat acquire Kobe.
    5. Wade has a good game.

    • blueintown - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      Dear diary..

    • edweird0 - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      You had me up until the heat acquire Kobe… Lmao.

  9. thenmoveback - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Cantonbound13- the refs didn’t put wade and James at the line, they did. The heat drive the ball to the hole while the C’s settled for jumpers. And they missed calls for BOTH teams. Stop ur crying and re-watch that series with out being a one sided fan.

    • loungefly74 - Jun 12, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      agree. the more agressive team draws more fouls. plain n’ simple. same thing happened in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals.

  10. rodge1 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Going to be a great series. The best part is the haters whose team(s) are at home watching will continue to post angry & jealous comments. Just when I think life is tough I read the haters’ ignorant comments and realize things could be a lot worse. Thank you haters, you make life that much better.

  11. mungman69 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Yes Cantonbound, I was referring to those crybaby fans. It will be interesting to read the posts after game 1 just to see if there are any crybabies left.

  12. turnmymicup - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    1) Excellent Defense. OKC is too dangerous you cant sleep on any of them.
    2) Chalmers is going to have to hit some big shots. I believe he can though, it looks like he found his groove.
    3) Bosh is going to have to log some big minutes. Last game he showed he is ready to help.
    4) LeBron needs to CONTINUE being amazing in this playoffs.
    5) Offensive rebounds. 2nd chance points will help the Heat keep the pressure on OKC.

    LETS GO HEAT!

  13. loungefly74 - Jun 12, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    though my $$$ is on OKC…i fully believe the heat have what it takes to win it. they need to execute, be totally focused the full 48 minutes, and be agressive.

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