1. Don’t slack off –In Game 1, it was clear that the Miami Heat were rusty and not prepared for the Chicago Bulls. It was also clear that their Game 1 play was an aberration as they won the next four games against the Bulls. So the most important takeaway from the Chicago Bulls series for the Miami Heat is don’t take your foot off of the gas pedal. Don’t get complacent and drop Game 1 at home to the Pacers or Knicks. Don’t put yourself in a hole to start the series.
2. The Miami Heat don’t absolutely need Dwyane Wade to win — In previous seasons, one could argue that Dwyane Wade was almost as important as LeBron James. When defenses keyed in on LeBron, Wade could shoulder the scoring load. When LeBron was having a bad game, Wade could step in and carry the Miami Heat. Those days are over, or are over until Dwyane Wade can get healthy again. Throughout these playoffs, Wade has been awful (by his All-Star standards) but despite Wade’s sub-par play, the Miami Heat have proven that they can dominate teams, even a good team like the Chicago Bulls, without an effective Dwyane Wade.
3. Miami needs their spot up shooters to get hot — Here is how well Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Mike Miller (Miami’s spot up shooters) shot during the Chicago Bulls series.
Ray Allen — FG: 12-29, 3FG: 4-17
Mario Chalmers — FG: 13-33, 3FG: 3-13
Shane Battier — FG: 8-28, 3FG: 8-28
(8-for-28! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! A blindfolded Joakim Noah could probably shoot 8-for-28.)
Mike Miller — FG: 3-7, 3FG: 1-5
Those numbers are simply not going to cut it against elite teams, especially a team like the New York Knicks, who can put up points in a hurry, or a team like the Indiana Pacers, who are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Miami will need its shooters to be more productive, especially since as the playoffs continue, teams will attempt the “Anybody-But-LeBron” defense (like what the Houston Rockets did against Oklahoma City in the first found). Which means that outside shots will be open, and it’s up to the Mike Millers and the Shane Battiers of the world to hit those outside shots.
Note: Norris Cole was an amazing 9-11 from three point range during the Chicago Bulls series, so at least one Miami Heat guard was able to shoot from downtown.