Skip to content

NBA Finals: Heat’s Big 3 get back to basics, even up the series

Jun 15, 2012, 2:35 AM EST

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder – Game Two Getty Images

For the sake of argument, forget about the Durant no-call for a second. Simply put, the Heat won Game 2 of the NBA Finals because all 3 of their best players went back to doing what they do best: playing off of each other, playing with energy, and, most importantly, playing near the rim.

Before Game 2, Erik Spoelstra noted that the Heat took more jumpers and less free throws in Game 1 than they had in the entire rest of the playoffs, and his players got the message, especially the ones that got the team to the NBA Finals. James, Wade, and Bosh scored 72 points in game 2. Guess how many of those points came on 3-point shots? Zero. Guess how many of those points came on shots outside of 15 feet? Just 10. (Bosh and James had one made jumper apiece, while Wade, the worst jump-shooter of the bunch, was able to get 3 outside shots to go.)

LeBron James set his NBA Finals career high for the 2nd straight game because he was determined to get inside — by using his shiny new post game in the first half and his tried-and-true ability to get to the rim from 30 feet away in the 2nd half, LeBron made 9 baskets from inside the paint and shot 12 free throws, all of which he made. And while James’ passing wasn’t as deadly  as it has been in other games, he had some huge plays that weren’t scores in the fourth quarter, notably a bullet pass from the free throw line to Chris Bosh for a wide-open dunk and a beautiful screen that allowed Wade to set up Bosh with another wide-open dunk.

The scary thing about James, and one that he hasn’t realized in Finals past, is that he doesn’t need to be hot like he was in Game 6 of the Miami series to be the best player on the floor — he just needs to use his unprecedented blend of size, strength, speed, and skill to give himself good looks. When LeBron’s hitting jumpers, we all know he’s unstoppable, but things don’t get much easier for the defense when he decides to essentially abandon the jumper entirely and bring each one of his “250” (scouts agree that his actual weight is at least 260, and possibly around 274) pounds to the basket.

James going off wasn’t much of a surprise — after all, 30-point nights have been the norm for him lately. It was Wade and Bosh who really rounded back into form on Thursday night, and each of their contributions were invaluable to the Heat.

Wade finished #3 in PER over the course of the regular season, but it’s been a long time since he looked like himself on the court, and it was an open question whether the 30-year old Wade’s knees were wearing down after a compressed schedule and two straight ultra-long playoff runs.

Right from the opening tip of Game 2, Wade was out to prove that rumors of his knees’ demise were greatly exaggerated. Wade had two assists, two dunks, and one trip to the free throw line in the first quarter alone, and was zig-zagging through the defense, going hard to the rim, hitting the deck all over the place, and generally putting pressure on the Thunder’s defense at every opportunity. Wade still settled for a few too many of the mid-range jumpers that have been costing the Heat points for the last few weeks, but he actually managed to make an acceptable 3 of the 8 outside jumpers that he took in Game 2. Wade nearly cost the Heat the game with a horrible turnover in the waning moments of the fourth, but the Heat should still be encouraged by the fact that the 2006 Finals MVP looked like himself again on Thursday night.

Finally, Chris Bosh made his long-awaited return to the starting lineup in Game 2, and it sure looks like he belongs there. Bosh didn’t play a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but he gave the Heat a dimension they’ve been lacking. Bosh missed some easy shots inside and let a few passes bounce off of his hands in the paint, but he attacked Oklahoma City’s defense  off the dribble, gave Wade and LeBron someone to pass the ball to inside, and was an absolute monster on the glass, as he finished with 15 rebounds, with 7 of them coming on the offensive glass.

None of the Big 3 played a perfect, or even a great, game, and without Shane Battier‘s 5 3-pointers (one of which was banked in), or a few calls going Miami’s way, the team would be going home in an 0-2 hole. But for now, they’ve got a tie series because the three players who were supposed to win Miami all those rings got to doing what they do best on the game’s biggest stage.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Mark Rachesky jumps into bidding for Hawks; price tag north of $900 million

    Mar 4, 2015, 6:14 PM EST

    Hawks pac man logo

    Don’t be shocked if the final price tag is close to $1 billion. Yes, for the Hawks.

  2. George Karl: Knicks could use a strong point guard next to Carmelo Anthony

    Mar 4, 2015, 5:15 PM EST

    Image (1) anthony_Karl-thumb-250x181-21662.jpg for post 6222

    Except you don’t really want a strong point guard in Phil Jackson’s triangle.

  3. P.J. Hairston has had a rough rookie season

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets Minnesota Timberwolves v Charlotte Hornets

    Some guys turn things around, bu Hairston has a lot of work to do.

  4. Ray Allen announces he will not play this season

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:58 PM EST

    Miami Heat's Allen celebrates a three point shot against the Indiana Pacers during Game 7 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

    Allen isn’t officially retiring just yet, says he’ll reassess things in advance of next season.

  5. Pelicans’ Anthony Davis a gametime decision Wednesday vs. Pistons

    Mar 4, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Davis has missed the last six games with a shoulder injury.

  6. Russell Westbrook confirms he will play Wednesday night vs. Sixers

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:28 PM EST

    He should put up numbers against the Sixers. Then again he puts up numbers on everyone.

  7. NBA admits missed foul call in final minutes of Timberwolves’ loss to Clippers

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:20 AM EST

    Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes Andrew Wiggins, Spencer Hawes

    League is releasing officiating reports for all calls made in a close game’s final two minutes, and the results are fascinating.

  8. LeBron goes behind the back to avoid Avery Bradley on the break (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 10:40 AM EST

    Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nifty but necessary move by LeBron to earn the easy two points.

  9. Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:20 AM EST

    Derek Fisher AP

    Knicks starting five combined for just 24 points, and New York trailed by as many as 44 before this one was finished.

  10. Utah’s Rudy Gobert grabs a career-high 24 rebounds in win over Grizzlies (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:40 AM EST

    Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Jazz are 5-1 in their last six games since Gobert was inserted into the starting lineup.

  11. LeBron James moves into 21st on NBA’s all-time scoring list (VIDEO)

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    Miami Heat practice Getty Images

    James passed Ray Allen to achieve his latest milestone.

  12. Josh Smith calls Hawks fans “bandwagoners”

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:55 AM EST

    Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks Getty Images

    Hawks fans booed Smith every time he touched the ball.

  13. Josh Smith rattles in 3-pointer, taunts booing Hawks fans (video)

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague

    Smith can’t stop shooting 3s, though, and you know how that ends

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (8226)
  2. K. Durant (7742)
  3. D. Rose (7080)
  4. D. Cousins (6909)
  5. A. Davis (6831)
  1. D. Howard (6661)
  2. L. James (6431)
  3. J. Harden (6425)
  4. K. Irving (6176)
  5. P. George (6101)