Friday, June 14, 2013

Game 4 Summary -- The Return of Dwyane Wade

Since 1986, no two teammates in a Finals game have ever each made 14+ baskets and each shot 55% or better from the floor.  (This is not surprising, since it is a stat so dominated by Shaq.  Shaq has like 8 of these efforts, even the great Michael Jordan had only 2.)

Anyway, it happened last night.  Wade (14-25) and James (15-25) comined to shoot 58% on 50(!) shots and lead the Heat to a win.

Chris Bosh, who averaged around 3 rebounds a game for the Heat against the Pacers, had 20 points and 13 rebounds and kept Chris Anderson (DNP-CD) on the Heat bench.

Ray Allen chipped in with 14.  So when you are allowing the 4 Heat current or former all-star players to score 33-32-20-14 = 97 points, you are not winning many games.

Ginobili (minus 22 in 25 minutes) and Splitter (minus 11 in 13 minutes) were terrible.  Tony Parker had 15 in the first half and 0 in the second half. 

Regarding Henry, er, I mean, Regarding Parker (Harrison Ford movie joke there):

I think Parker's hamstring is bothering him.  1) He did well early when he had a lot of time to warm up pre-game; 2) he did poorly in the second half when his hammy, if hurt, would have tightened up; and 3) he spent more time sprawling to the floor than normal.  #3, to me, indicates that he does not want to land awkwardly on his leg.  Parker is a master at penetrating and avoiding contact with a variety of floaters and finishes right next to the rim.  He generally does NOT sprawl face first to the floor as a means of scoring.

The series continues to be a complete mystery.  Game 1 was a great game.  Game 2 the Heat imposed their will in a 33-5 run.  Game 3 was such a horrible effort by the Heat that they had to consider releasing LeBron (if league rules had permitted).  Game 4?  You had to expect that James could not possible suck as bad as he had in Game 3, but all of a sudden Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all-star level players again?  Where has THAT been for 19 playoff games?  Can it happen again?  Let me tell you this - if that can happen for 2 more games, the Spurs have no chance.  They are done.  But what reasonable person who has watched Wade play at Jimmy Butler/Lance Stephenson/Jarrett Jack level for the entire playoff can predict that it will happen two more times in 3 games?  I cannot.

One of the oddest things about this series is that in an NBA Finals you generally see one team's spirit get broken.  You look out there and you can see it.  You see James in 2011 just freeze up, or James Harden decide that he will take 500 shots no matter if he is going to make them or not.  Going back to 2004 - you saw the Pistons make Kobe quit.  In 1983, you saw Moses Malone simply break Kareem.  In 1990, the Pistons seemingly could mentally beat the Blazers any time the game got inside 2 minutes left. 

That has not happened in this series.  I think a younger Spurs team just mentally whips the Heat (ala the Spurs sweep of Cleveland in 2007).  But the Spurs are not young.  They cannot maintain concentration and effort for 7 games.  The Heat, for whatever reason, are completely incapable of in-game adjustments, so when they are getting their asses just keeps happening until they can get in and watch film.  Spoelstra is NOT a good game coach.  Spoelstra (or Riley) is a great practice coach.

My prediction was Heat in 6 with the Heat splitting at home and taking 2 of 3 in SA.  For that to happen the Heat needs to play two good games in a row.  They haven't done that in a month. 

We shall see.

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