The Miami Heat are looking to sweep the Charlotte Bobcats tonight, earning some much needed rest down the stretch of the playoffs. If the Heat can close out, they will have close to six days of rest heading into May 4th’s game against the Brooklyn Nets or Toronto Raptors. The Nets and Raptors are currently tied in the best of seven series at 2-2 heading back to Toronto.
While the Heat should certainly be rooting for the Raptors to win the series, they need to focus on closing out game four tonight against a Bobcat team that is hungry for a win.
Yes, the Heat have beaten the Bobcats 19 straight times in the Big Three Era, but anything can happen in the playoffs. Here are four keys to a Miami Heat victory tonight.
4. Get Chris Bosh in a rhythm
Bosh has certainly had his struggles offensively this season, but when he’s hitting his perimeter shots, the Heat are able to accomplish anything on offense. Bosh had 20 points on 8-11 shooting in a Game 2 win, but struggled to find a groove in Game 3, as he scored only eight points on 3-7 shooting.
Why must Bosh find his groove? In playoff games, the Heat are 12-2 when Bosh scores 20 points or more.
3. Shut down Kemba Walker
Who else remembers the days when we saw Kemba Walker taking over college basketball games? I certainly do. Walker is currently averaging 16.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.3 rebounds this postseason. Not to mention scoring most of his points against two of the best perimeter guards on the Heat in Mario Chalmers in Norris Cole.
Walker hasn’t had the best all-around shooting performances, but he’s getting to the line and shooting 47 percent from behind the arc. I don’t expect Spoelstra to address the issue, but if Al Jefferson is out, Walker is their only scoring option. Look for Dwyane Wade or Toney Douglas to guard Walker for majority of the game.
2. Get Ray Allen involved in the offense
Would you believe me if I told you that Ray Allen is only averaging 3.3 points and shooting 28 percent against the Bobcats? Well, it’s true, but he’s only been playing 20 minutes per game the last three. Allen is guy that saved the Heat’s season last year, and was able to connect on 43 percent of his threes in the playoffs.
Allen is a floor-spreader, and when he isn’t hitting his threes, it leaves the Heat’s second unit without a viable scoring option.
1. Less LeBron, more Wade
We all know what LeBron is capable of on the offensive end, but we have yet to see Wade explode on offense. From what I’ve watched, Wade has been more of a facilitator than LeBron in this series, getting guys like Chalmers and Cole involved. I’d like to see Spoelstra sit LeBron after the first half, but only if the Heat have a huge lead.
Wade has looked great so far, but I want to see him score more, especially for LeBron’s sake.