Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.
With a win that big, we have to ask something: did the Heat just figure out the Spurs?
They haven’t yet, but their response to what happened in Game 1 was spot-on. Spoelstra’s decision to shut down Parker in the first half with double-teams from his very first pick-and-roll worked perfectly. Make no mistake -- the Heat spent the night tempting Parker to pass the ball exactly where Miami wanted it. However, Pop is a great tactician, and San Antonio should respond by taking care of the ball much better in Game 3.
I don't think they "figured" anything out. Tony Parker just had a bad game, Mario Chalmers had a monster game, and the shooters were connecting from long range. Ray Allen and Mike Miller have been up and down all throughout the playoffs, and my point of view is that the Heat will live or die by how well they're shooting.
You must know your opponent as well as yourself. Accordingly, the Heat countered well against Spurs, reducing their scoring tally to 84, San Antonio's lowest record in the play-offs. They contained Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, who were a combined 8-for-21 shooting. The duo's 22 points were far lower than 41 points in Game 1.
I don’t think so. The Spurs simply had no rhythm whatsoever. You can partly credit the Heat’s disruptive D for that, but just as large a share goes to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Both played sloppy, and the Argentinian especially broke the rhythm that San Antonio had going early by fumbling the ball, messing up plays and playing passes that were nowhere near the shooting pockets of his teammates. Just a terrible game for the Spurs, nothing more.
Too soon to say. The Heat were expected to jump into the game and showcase more intensity after their loss in Game 1. The Spurs looked a little bit tired during the second half and lost most of the mis-match opportunities they had on their hands. Miami played better in Game 2, the series are now even (1-1) and that's it. The next game (in San Antonio) is a completely different story.
I won’t say the Heat figured out the Spurs as much as they simply played better in Game 2. Their defense was a lot more intense, which explained the 16 turnovers for San Antonio. Also, when the Heat went 8-for-25 (just 32 percent) from 3-point territory in Game 1, it was an aberration for a normally strong 3-point-shooting team. They finished second from distance in the regular season, hitting 39.6 percent of their shots from behind the arc. In Game 2, the Heat were a reflection of their regular-season form, going 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) from behind the arc. But the Heat can still get better, especially if they are more aggressive in getting to the rim - hidden in the blowout was the fact that they took just 14 free throws in Game 2. If that happens, in combination with the other two (playing defense and knocking down threes), I would agree to the Heat having figured out the Spurs. But not yet.
No, I think the Spurs just had a bad night. The Big Three had a nightmare game (27 points, 10-33 from the field combined, including Duncan's worst shooting night ever in a NBA Finals game) and the rest of team just blacked out during the 33-5 Miami run. The Heat weren't playing that good before their amazing run, but they kept running once they got the chance. Miami played the game they needed, with LeBron helped by teammates, the sharpshooters doing their job from downtown and Bosh and Wade close to their best. But still, I expect the Spurs to have a great game in San Antonio. This is going to be a long series.
I don't think so, we can't judge the whole series with just one win. Both teams will make key adjustments every game that will either make or break their chances for the 2013 NBA championship. Pop and Spo will be having a virtual chess match all-series long whether in between games or in-game. Along with their coaching staff, they will try to correct and improve on their mistakes and tweak their game plan.
The Heat were fantastic because LeBron got some help from Chalmers and Chris Bosh. Who knows? After Game 1, the Spurs might have taken the Heat a little more lightly than they should have -- or at least not prepared themselves fully for a hard-charing Heat squad. As a result, Parker, Duncan and Ginobili were inefficient. But the series is moving to San Antonio, so Spurs will be more motivated next time.