Welcome back, Heat fans. Miami takes on the Charlotte Bobcats at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Wedneday (starting at 7 P.M. and broadcast over at TNT). Let’s take a look at what happened in Game 1 and what you can expect from the upcoming game.
If you’ve followed Heat basketball via All U Can Heat all season (and let’s be honest, why would you follow it anywhere else???), you may be disappointed to know we’re going to forgo the standard game preview approach (or maybe you don’t care…who knows? Heat fans are a notoriously tough bunch to decipher). There’s only so many times you can look at the LeBron James – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist matchup and only so many paragraphs can be spent discussing the luxurious mane of McBob’s hair and figuring out whether him or Birdman wins the Most Likely to Look Like a Homeless Man’s Beard Award.
Answer: McRoberts, clearly. Birdman has that thing styled on purpose. That’s classy. McRoberts looks like he hasn’t bathed since March.
Without further ado…
What Went Right For Miami
How about Dwyane Wade’s health? It seems like Wade’s season-long maintenance program might be a success story and he could be back at full health for the rest of the playoffs. His 23 points on an über-efficient 10-of-16 shooting is a good sign for the Heat. People (i.e. total liars) will say they knew this would be the case but, in reality, there was no way of knowing what version of Wade would be there for Game 1. But if his health continues, the Heat are primed for deep run in the playoffs that might lead to a third-straight championship.
What Went Wrong For Miami
The starts to the first and third quarters. Both LeBron and D-Wade admitted to being tired at the start of the game and Charlotte ran out to a quick 7-point lead. Similarly, Miami let a decent lead evaporate at the start of the third quarter. Clearly it wasn’t enough to stop the Heat from overcoming the ‘Cats but it’s a bad habit and you’d like to see an improved focus. Also, to be honest, later rounds will feature tougher opponents and expending the kind of energy needed to come back from a deficit is a waste. Starting strong and finishing stronger should be Miami’s approach throughout the series.
Previous Game’s X-Factor
James Jones, of course. 12 points and a couple of rebounds…not a huge factor but it was a boost at just the right time. With Ray Allen’s shooting stroke a bit off, seeing J.J. off the bench was a welcome sight. I wouldn’t count on him being productive like that for the rest of the playoffs but it shows that Erik Spoelstra can strike gold at times with his deep, veteran bench.
What Could Use Some Work
Not counting on “Big Al” Jefferson to be ineffective. Following his first half injury in Game 1 (later revealed to be an aggravated plantar fascia), Jefferson was clearly hobbled and not as effective – his first quarter looked to be a repeat of his 38-point game versus Miami earlier this season. “Big Al” is wearing a support boot and he intends to play (although officially listed as “day-to-day” in the injury report). He’s not a leaper and his game is decidedly below-the-rim, but his excellent footwork will be limited by the injury. This doesn’t give Miami carte blanche to take their foot of the gas. Kemba Walker led that third-quarter comeback single-handedly and you don’t want the rest of the roster to get confident. Miami needs to display a killer instinct and take advantage of an opponent’s weakness. It isn’t pretty and it might not be fair but it is necessary for the Heat to secure a Game 2 victory.