2. LeBron has to deal with Kawhi Leonard.
Not gonna lie, Kawhi Leonard bottled LeBron up for most of the game.
While 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks sounds like a pretty solid stat line (and don’t get me wrong, that’s a very solid stat line) a lot of those stats came in garbage time. In reality, LeBron struggled in this game, especially offensively.
He was a pedestrian 7-for-17 (41% FG percentage) from the field. He only shot two free throws and he didn’t really have those patent LeBron “I’m stronger than you, bigger than you, faster than you — so eff you, I’m driving to the hoop and you’re either going to foul me or I’m going to make a layup” drives. He was the last Heat starter to score any points. That’s right, Udonis Haslem scored before LeBron scored.
Think about that.
LeBron has been outstanding throughout the playoffs, erasing any memory of his terrible NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks from only two years ago. In Game 2, we saw shadows of the same passive LeBron that laid a giant goose egg in 2011. LeBron’s gotta take control of Game 3.
3. The Heat need their supporting cast to show up again.
Mario Chalmers had 19 points. Mike Miller was 3-for-3 from three point range and finished with nine points in 16 minutes of playing time. Ray Allen had 13 points (more than Dwyane Wade!) in only 25 minutes.
These role players need to step it up in Game 3 (and for the rest of the series) because the Heat are only going to get minimal amounts of scoring help from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Dwyane Wade had 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting in Game 2. And Chris Bosh barely performed any better — Bosh finished with 12 points. (That being said, Bosh did finish with a double-double, so that’s definitely better than his four rebounds per game average in the Indiana series…but it’s also not great.)
Without two of the Big Three playing well, and with LeBron hampered by Kawhi Leonard’s defense, the Heat’s lesser known (but just as important) teammates stepped up, hit big shots, and helped the Heat pull away in the fourth quarter.
This needs to happen again in Game 3 if the Heat have any chance of winning tonight.