LeBron James spent much of Game 1 fronting David West in the post, something he acknowledged was a struggle. With his back to him in the post, James lost West a few different times. On one particular case early in the game, James lost West after overplaying his help defense on Paul George. West snuck by him for an easy score.
Miami will need to bounce back, or fear going down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. To do that, the defense will need to step up. One adjustment the Heat could make is taking LeBron off of covering powerforwards and match him up with Paul George.
Takeaway from this practice: LeBron wouldn’t mind chasing around Paul George in Game 2. That means a lineup change.
— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) May 19, 2014
That would require a lineup change, since Shane Battier isn’t in the shape he once was to cover West. Udonis Haslem, who started the second half of Game 1, would likely start from the tip. That would pin Haslem on Hibbert from the beginning, and Bosh would draw West.
It would also put Miami’s best perimeter defender on George, who went 7-of-13 (3-of-6 3FG) for 24 points. However, of George’s seven made field goals, three came with James defending (and two against each Wade and Battier).
Putting LeBron on George isn’t a cure-all, but it takes him off a mismatch with West. Miami has an inherent disadvantage defending Roy Hibbert, it can’t afford to give the Pacers the edge at the 4 as well.
Chris Andersen and Chris Bosh played together for a little more than 5 minutes in Game 1. Seeing more of that lineup rather than Haslem and Bosh (7 minutes) could help offensively until Haslem has his one Holy Shit Game of the series. Both of those combinations should see more time, though.
Miami will make some minor adjustments, just don’t expect anything crazy. That means Michael Beasley and Greg Oden won’t be saving the day. Don’t expect James Jones to go Mike Miller either. The Heat will live and die with LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the usual supporting cast. Could be worse, right?