Heat-Bulls Game 2 Preview: Can LeBron James get some help?
Previewing Game 2 of the NBA playoff series between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls Wednesday night.
1. Where We Are: The Chicago Bulls are up 1-0 on the Miami Heat after stealing Game 1 in Miami. How did the Miami Heat let Nate Robinson beat them? Obviously, it was a little more complicated than that because Robinson accounted for 48 of the 93 points, so the extra points had to come from somewhere. But Robinson was responsible for 25 of the Bulls’ 35 points in the fourth quarter. The Heat got a solid contribution out of LeBron James (24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) but he came up short at the end of the game when the team needed him the most. He had 12 huge points in the first 5:30 of the fourth quarter, but just three points in the final 6:30, including an airball on a runner.
2. The Big Number: 29.2. The Miami Heat made just 29.2 percent of their 3-point shots in Game 1, and a lot of those misses came on good looks. Of their 17 misses from downtown, four of them were open looks, six of them were lightly contested, and seven of them were well defended (with three of those well defended 3-pointers coming in the 1:08 of the game when the Bulls new the Heat had to force threes). The Heat were the second best 3-point shooting team in the league this season at 39.6 percent and they normally knock down a lot of the looks they got early against Chicago. They have to take advantage of these shot opportunities in Game 2 to avoid a potentially historic collapse.
3. Key Adjustment: Get Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh closer to the basket. The duo of Wade and Bosh simply didn’t do enough to help LeBron in Game 1 and they have to get closer to the basket to really open up the spacing for others to attack. Check out their combined shot chart in Game 1:
Wade had the right idea of attacking the basket because accounted for 11 of those 13 shots at the basket, but he had too many reckless drives instead of the usual measured attempts, which draw fouls against the defense. Bosh had just two attempts at the basket and stayed far away from the hoop. He has to give the Heat the threat of a big finisher inside with cutting to the hoop.
The Big Story: Are the Heat in trouble of losing this series? The Chicago Bulls shocked most in the first game by taking a road victory against the best team in the league. They don’t have any pressure on themselves because nobody expects such a battered team to truly compete with Miami. That means the Heat now have all of the pressure in this series. The Bulls put them on notice that even a battered team will fight against them, so the Heat have to fight back and impose their will on Chicago. It’s hard to say that such a good team is facing a “must-win” game right now, but going down 0-2 heading back to Chicago would be one of the bigger tests this team has faced since the Big Three came together.
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