3 players the Miami Heat need to break out to extend their season in Game 5
3. Caleb Martin
Caleb Martin nearly — and probably should have — won the Eastern Conference Finals MVP. Scaled comparatively to this Finals series, that sentence has suddenly become even more of a brow-raiser than it already was.
Martin has remained one of the Heat’s most effective defenders in both conventional and zone coverages, being one of the biggest factors for Jamal Murray’s shooting struggles in the previous game. However, his offensive output has lagged behind his tremendous work on the less glamorous end of the floor, giving Miami one less offensive presence to employ to keep up with the Nikola Jokic-led machine.
For the Heat to win Game 5, Martin has to veer away from his auxiliary role so far in the Finals and regain his aggression from the Celtics series. From draining open triples and attacking closeouts to making sneaky cuts to the lane, he has to reprise his two-way brilliance from the previous round in order to give the Heat the small edge they need to get a win in Denver.
The Nuggets’ squadron of rangier and more defensively aware wings make it tough for Martin to exploit mistakes, but it will be up to his impressive motor and grunt to contribute on both ends of the court and hopefully give the Heat a better chance to extend their season and historic run.