Apr 23, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) dunks past Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Heat Check: Keys to Victory Game 3 vs Bobcats

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With a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Charlotte, Miami has its sights set on the possibility of a sweep in the first round. For that to become a reality, writer Jimmy Cook examines three objectives for the Heat to grab Game 3.

 

Take Care of the Basketball:

Apr 23, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) throws a pass against the Charlotte Bobcats in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In the impressive 99-88 win in Game 1, Miami valued the basketball the way any team gunning for the Finals should: they turned it over seven times…the ENTIRE GAME. That’s almost a mistake free game by today’s NBA standards, which is, in-part, why they won by double figures. However, in Game 2, where Miami only won by four, they were very careless with the rock, turning it over 17 times. This lead to 22 points over turnovers for the Bobcats, and almost cost the Heat the game. If Miami is to keep hope of a sweep alive, they have to play more like Game 1 than Game 2. Obviously seven turnovers is a lot to ask for, but in order to ensure the W that number must stay under 13.

 

Contain Kemba, Let Kidd-Gilchrist Have His…or vice-versa:

Apr 20, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) reacts after being called for a foul against the Miami Heat during the second half in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 99-88. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Though I might have a bit of biased being a Butler fan, (see 2011 NCAA Title Game), I’m sick of Kemba constantly trying to break my heart. That being said, Kemba is avearging 18 points per contest. Who else is averaging 18? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. That one-two punch was deadly in Game 2, and posses a serious threat to the Heat’s goal of getting to the next round as fast as possible. The objective? Take one of the two out of the equation. I’d prefer it to be Kemba, but the fact of the matter is both of these ‘Cats have serious potential, and are looking for a moment to shine on the big stage. So far they’ve answered the call, and Miami has still won both games…but sooner or later, lightning might strike for Charlotte and this series could go longer than we hoped.

 

ATTACK THE BASKET:

Unless you’ve been under a rock for this series, you know that LeBron was clearly targeted in the closing minutes of Game 2, (for more on that see our post on the “McBow”). For that matter, LeBron has been targeted all this season and arguably the last three years as well. The point is, the Heat are not going to retaliate with fists, but rather with drives. This game will be a telling piece for, potentially, how the rest of these playoffs will be officiated in regard to the King. Miami has to drive the basket and force the officials to show their hands as far as how they’ll call those plays. However, they have to do it by including it in the way they already play, not by replacing it with their current style. LeBron, in my opinion, should be rewarded for his aggressive takes to the basket, not officiated differently because of his ridiculous build and athleticism. If Miami can do this, not only will they eliminate the officiating controversy against the King, but they’ll also leave Time Warner Cable Arena with a 3-0 series lead.

 

 

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