Game 3 is always pivotal. This Thursday night in Philadelphia the Miami Heat will have an opportunity to take a 3-0 lead in a series that has been the least interesting of the playoffs. Sure game 1 had its moments, but the majority of this series features double-digit leads from the Miami Heat.
Joel Anthony has been phenomenal. Enough to the point that “The Warden” is hearing “MVP” chants when he is at the free throw line. Keep in mind that South Beach has struggled with the “MVP” chant all season with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade at the line, seeming incapable of chanting the letters in sync.
It is great to hear Anthony get recognized for his efforts. He has been a force on defense, shutting down Philadelphia in the paint and locking them down, hence “The Warden” nickname.
Wade’s migraines did not seem to inhibit his abilities too much. He has struggled to score his usual average in this series, but credit that result to Doug Collins and the Sixers who have made it their goal to prevent Dwyane from lighting up the scoreboard. All reports indicate that Wade should be fine heading into Thursday night.
Overall, it seems that Miami is simply too talented for Philadelphia to handle. The Sixers are not good enough to contend with the Heatles. Chris Bosh has been extremely efficient with both his scoring and rebounding with over 20 points and 10 rebounds in games 1 and 2. Miami will continue to need his scoring.
Philadelphia is only going to get better on the home floor. It is proven with empirical data that role players play better at home than they do on the road. This means that Philly is likely to get more prodcution out of Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday, and they need it.
The Heat’s biggest weakness is at the point guard position. both Williams and Holiday need to exploit this if they want to have any chance of extending this series. The Sixers can do this by running.
Only problem is, when switching to a higher tempo, it can sometimes lead to a poor shot selection which in turn can be deadly because Miami can get out on the break. Obvioulsy with LeBron and Dwyane’s abilities to score in the open floor in is a quick way to fall behind by double-digits. In essence, it is what makes beating Miami such a difficult task.
I’m actually surprised that Doug Collins has not found a way to exploit Mike Bibby so far. While Bibby has not been much of a factor in the series thus far, he still has been able to play stretches without being exposed by Philadelphia’s superior athleticism. In fact, Miami has held Philadelphia to just 38% shooting for the series. You cannot win and shoot below 40%.
I fully expect the Sixers to be compeitive in game 3 as it is almost impossible to come back from the 0-3 deficit should they lose. Miami is going to need more help from its role players as none of them have contributed much of anything outside of Joel Anthony. Miami is shooting a measly 22% from three in the first two games.
Mike Bibby, Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller have comined to shoot under 30% for the series. This cannot continue to happen as the Heat advance further into the playoffs. It would be comfoting if one of these guys can produce in the coming days. Miller can be excused offensively for enduring a season of flukey injuries, but Bibby was hitting threes at a 50% clip earlier in the season.
Ultimately what it comes down to is exactly what Doug Collins pointed out in an interview. He made comments referring as to how Philadelphia is not capable of beating Miami when the Heat are at their best. It is true LeBron, Wade and Bosh are too good. I still feel that Philadelphia can grab a victory in either game 3 or 4.