Miami looked dominant in a lot of ways in game 1. It wasn’t just LeBron and Wade this time around. Sure, we saw a heavy dose of James and Wade, but the highlight was the overall production of the team.
Shane Battier made a major impact on the game. The box score doesn’t tell the whole story – Shane shot 2-9 from three point range, putting up 11 shots in total. While he contributed with 10 points and 10 big boards, it was his impact on defense that really helped Miami get the win. He blocked 2 shots and it seemed like he contested every shot that the Celtics took.
James and Wade combined for a “modest” 54 points on the night and despite the game being tied at halftime, Miami made it clear who the favorites are.
Keys to the game
Miami has to continue playing solid team-defense. Everyone contributed on the boards, where Miami clearly dominated Boston, winning the rebounding battle 48-33. Boston is a poor rebounding team, and Miami have to continue taking advantage of that. James grabbed 13, while Miami’s bench combined for 12 boards.
Miami did a good job on disrupting any kind of rhythm that Boston tried to establish. Both James and Wade took turns guarding Rajon Rondo, and at the same time made Ray Allen and Paul Pierce non-factors in the game. The two future all-stars were held to a combined 6-25 from the field, and it was evident that Ray Allen had no rhythm whatsoever. The 92% free-throw shooter went 3-7 at the line.
Kevin Garnett posted a solid 23 points and 10 boards, but at 36 he has mainly become a jump shooter, and cannot carry a team on his own. While he provides a match up problem, he needs Allen, Pierce and Rondo to have big games as well.
Boston will probably play more zone in game 2. While they ran some zone defense in game 1, Miami found ways to score anyway, and when they didn’t they made up for it on the defensive end. James and Wade might not hit tough 1 leg turnaround fade-aways every game, so it will be that much more important to get out in the fast break. Boston managed to limit their turnovers to 8, but Miami still got out on the break by pushing the ball on defensive rebounds.
Game 1 wasn’t an amazing game for Miami, but the defensive intensity remained intact and consistent. If Miami can continue to play great defense, push the ball and stay aggressive, they should be able to protect home court tonight.