Often people get lost in the hype and lose sight of the little things which truly make the difference between winning and losing, between moving on or going home. Let’s now take a look at the five keys for Miami to advance past this series.
1. Ball Movement
All one needs to do is look at Game’s 1-3 vs Boston and compare it to Game 4. Miami’s ball movement was awful early in the season but it has truly begun to become a strength. No longer do you see LeBron and Dwyane bumping into each other on the court and making bad passes. Instead we now have better spacing on the floor between both stars and the teams passing has been a thing of beauty at times late in the season. Let’s hope this continues.
2. Contain Rajon Rondo
This match up was very scary after Game 1 and 2 versus the Celtics, however Mario Chalmers has really taken his game to another level the last month or so. Seems as if since Mike Bibby was acquired Chalmers decided to wake up. Still containing Rondo is going to be near impossible. Rondo’s speed is something Miami can’t match but all they need to do is keep him out of the paint as much as possible. Give him all the room in the world to shoot, because as long as he is hoisting up his bricks instead of penetrating Miami will be fine. Lastly do not use LeBron or Dwyane to cover Rondo. I’d stick with Chalmers because he’s a better on the ball defender than Wade who is a great off the ball defender and you don’t want Wade or James exhausting themselves. If Chalmers continues his solid play look for him to get even more minutes in place of Bibby. If he can keep hitting open threes and driving floaters don’t be surprised to see him get close to matching Rondo’s point production in more than one game.
3. James and Wade Must Attack the Rim Constantly
Want to beat Boston, then Wade and James have to go at the rim with reckless abandon. If you can get the Celtics in foul trouble you will better be able to dictate and win the resulting match up battles. Not to mention Wade and James are at their best when they drive instead of settling for jumpers. It wouldn’t hurt if Chris Bosh could actually find a way to put the ball on the floor and get to the charity stripe as well.
4.Neutralize Ray Allen
Dwyane Wade must outscore Ray Allen every single game for Miami to have their best chance to win. Face it Bosh and KG are practically a wash, Miami has the advantage at the three and Boston at the one. Neither teams centers will determine the series outcome so it’s going to come down to Wade having to dominate the Celtics Sharpshooter. Allen’s stroke has been solid lately so Wade must find a way to snap him out of it. Shooters can be very streaky, let’s hope Ray goes ice cold
5.Win the Mental Battle
This is the single biggest factor to the series. Boston’s players are experienced and battle tested. They have guys like KG who can really get into your head and affect your game. This is where Miami needs to take a different approach. Similar to their last regular season encounter when James was flagrantly fouled by J.O., Miami has to come out and play with that same kind of fire. If Miami can muster up and sustain that kind of intensity then they will win the series.