The Miami Heat need to win this game. Plain and simple.
Having lost Game 1 at home to the ailing Chicago Bulls, the Heat need to come out strong and win convincingly in order to repair some frayed South Beach nerves.
Fortunately for the Heat, Hinrich and Deng are both unlikely to play — though this didn’t stop the Bulls from winning Game 1. However, as the games pile up for the Bulls (remember, the Bulls played a tough seven-game series against the Brooklyn Nets) and the minutes pile up, the wear and tear (physically and mentally) also piles up. For example, Jimmy Butler has played every minute of the past three straight playoff games. You don’t think he wants or needs a bit of a rest? Missing two of their best players will hurt the Bulls as this series continues.
Here are my three keys to the game:
- Somebody not named LeBron James needs to step it up – In Game 1, Chris Bosh had 9 points, and shot only 30% from the field. Ray Allen, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller went 4-for-15 from three point range. And Dwyane Wade was the Heat’s second-highest scorer in Game 1 with 14 points, which is simply not good enough for a player of D-Wade’s quality. He shot only 7-for-16 and didn’t even attempt a free throw. Which leads me to my next point…
- Can the Heat please make some free throws? — The Bulls shot 82.8% (24-for-29) from the charity stripe in Game 1. The Heat? A mediocre 68% (17-25). The biggest offenders? Udonis Haslem (0-2) and Mario Chalmers (3-6). I can somewhat excuse Haslem for shooting terribly from the free throw stripe (I actually can’t excuse him, but whatever) but Mario Chalmers doing his best Shaq impression and missing as many free throws as he makes? That’s inexcusable.
- Can somebody please guard Nate Robinson? — I don’t know if Spoelstra is going to let LeBron guard Little Nate. I kind’ve hope he does, just to see Little Nate hopelessly chuck up 18-foot mid-range jumpers and finish with a stat line like 0-for-15, 0 points, and five turnovers. That would really shut up all the Bulls fans I know who have Little Nate > LeBron tattooed on their nether-regions. In all seriousness, if I see more than five minutes of Ray Allen guarding (and I use the word “guarding” very generously here because Ray Allen probably couldn’t prevent Bill Simmons from scoring) Little Nate, I will hurl my remote at my television and tweet Erik Spoelstra-related obscenities. I probably won’t do the last part, but CAN’T WE HAVE ANYBODY OTHER THAN RAY ALLEN GUARDING NATE ROBINSON? ANYBODY? ANYBODY?!?!
As I’ve written in an earlier blog post, I have the Heat taking the next four games. What do you think? Fill out the poll below!