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NBA finals Game 2, Heat-Thunder: We expect a better Miami, is that enough?

Jun 14, 2012, 3:56 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One Getty Images

Every time they have really been challenged these playoffs, the Miami Heat have been able to summon enough focus and resolve to get the wins they need. Down 2-1 to the Pacers, they rallied. Down 3-2 to the Celtics, they rallied.

Down 1-0 to the Oklahoma city Thunder in the NBA finals, you can bet the Heat will show some resolve with a better effort in Game 2.

The question is, will that be enough this time?

For the first time in the playoffs, the Heat have ran into a team where they are not more athletic, not faster, not just physically superior. The Thunder are their equal, and the Thunder are much deeper. Oklahoma City played the Sixth Man of the Year, James Harden, just more than four minutes in the fourth quarter of Game 1 because Thabo Sefolosha was playing too well to take him out. That’s depth.

We know what Miami needs to do to get back in this.

For one, no coasting. Particularly on defense. This goes back to them summoning resolve — Miami has up to now been able to get by playing 24 minutes of really great basketball, they can do that no longer. There must be sustained execution at both ends of the floor. No stagnant offense that results in a LeBron James long two. No miscommunications on defensive rotations that allow guys to waltz to the rim.

Miami needs much more out of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. For Wade that is particularly on the defensive end, where he cannot just get torched by Russell Westbrook again. In Game 1 Westbrook blew by him like Wade was a pylon. The Heat do not have Tyson Chandler back there to wipe out their perimeter defensive mistakes, they need to play better defense on the wings. And much better in transition.

Bosh will start and the Heat should try to establish him a little on the block early.

LeBron needs to be exceptional. Not good, but both an offensive force and a guy who gets physical with Kevin Durant and forces him into a pedestrian shooting night. Durant can’t get 36 and be efficient in the fourth quarter if the Heat want to win. Doesn’t matter how tired LeBron gets, he has to power through it. Anything less than exceptional and the Heat will struggle.

And Miami needs something from their bench. LeBron can do a lot but only so much. Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers can’t just be hot for a half then disappear, they need to play 48 minutes.

And all that may not be enough.

Oklahoma City can play better defense as a team. Sefolosha will be draped all over Wade and Serge Ibaka will be in the lane waiting for LeBron to drive. Another big game from Nick Collison would be huge.

And you know James Harden isn’t just scoring five points in Game 2. His beard will get five from the free throw line alone.

Game 2 will give us a better idea of where this series really stands. It’s closer than the second half of Game 1 showed.

But it still may not be close enough for the Heat. Not in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder players are so, so comfortable.

  1. ccshocktalk - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    It will take D-Wade of old, Bosh, LeBron and his two MVP trophies to stay in this game against the Thunder. Teams are always going to beat out talented individuals, and OKC is one deep TEAM. OKC is in a prime position to be the face of the west for years to come so long as nobody on this team gets an ego or a chip on their shoulder.

  2. onereasonableman - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    You mean “the Heat have run…” Talk about focus.

    Go OKC!

  3. kinggw - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Can the media overreact anymore? The favored team won a game on their home court. And the game was closer than the final score indicated. I could see the concern if Miami played a flawless game and OKC still prevailed. Thats not what happened. The Heat came out flat, particularly in the 2nd half and no one played an excellent game for the Heat. Battier was great in the 1st half. LBJ was decent as was Chalmers, but even the most ardent Heat hater has to agree that we didnt see Miami’s best.

    Westbrook and Durant came to play in the 2nd half and the Heat couldnt match their intensity. That being said, the Thunder did what they were supposed to do. They took care of business on their home floor. Didnt we learn from the conference finals that Game 1s arent necessarily indicative of how the series will play out. OKC ended the game strong, but they are far from invincible.

    • usavebob - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Unfortunately for Miami, the Thunder wouldn’t characterize Tuesday’s game as better than a B performance. If Harden shows up tonight and Durant and Westbrook toss in 50+/- points Miami will stubble to outscore them. Miami will struggle to get 95 points as long as the Thunder show up in the first quarter.
      If LBJ and Wade score 50+/-, where are the rest of the points going to come from?

  4. fanz928 - Jun 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Harden barely did anything due to ww and hardcore defense from s if heat wants to win wade or somebody needs to shut down ww and durant

  5. thetooloftools - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I just hope Miami takes their beatings like men.
    OKC is about to run them right off the floor again tonight.
    They may hang around… but this is “No Country For Old Men” right now.
    OKC has heart.
    You cannot replace ANYTHING with HEART.
    Lakers=gone… Spurs(who did not lose a playoff game)=gone.
    those are cross hairs.
    Miami. you may want to win.
    OKC is a team that has learned to IMPOSE IT’S WILL !!!!!!
    They are going to put you to sleep too.
    Stone Cold Killa’s in a Redneck Barn… and a parade too !
    hahahahahahaha !
    I guess they say all the beautiful people may be in Miami… it’s just a shame their jewelry box is empty.
    And it’s all about the ring(s).
    No fog lamps, big lamp, and slamming DJ for you BOYS !

  6. lakerluver - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    OKC is not Indy or Boston and the East is not as good as the West. I predict a double digit win by OKC tonight with Harden having a big game. If LeBron guards KD for the whole game it’s going to effect LeBron’s game offensively AND KD will probably still score 30. Furthermore, Miami is at Westbrook’s mercy. They have no one who can guard him. Wade will be contained by Thabo and continue to struggle offensively, as he’s done for the majority of the post season. Unless LeBron has another 45 and 15 game the Heat are in trouble.

  7. greggatx - Jun 14, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    OKC will run the Heat to death. Youth is on their side. I think it will be a tough series and Durant will be hard to stop. It time to Thunder Up! Go OKC and win your first Thunder Championship!! And many more to come!

  8. Louis Tumblin - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    This game should be better than Game 1. Miami must play very good to get the victory.

  9. borderline1988 - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Can you stop talking about Harden’s beard?

    It was funny once or twice, now it’s just getting weird.

  10. lakerluver - Jun 14, 2012 at 6:58 PM


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