May 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks with power forward Chris Andersen (11) , point guard Norris Cole (30) , small forward LeBron James (6) and small forward Shane Battier (31) in the third quarter of ...
May 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks with power forward Chris Andersen (11) , point guard Norris Cole (30) , small forward LeBron James (6) and small forward Shane Battier (31) in the third quarter of game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
No matter what the media says, the Miami Heat are still the better team in the Eastern Conference Finals and should be considered the favorites. The main issues for the Heat have not been size and rebounding like some analysts have preached. Yes, those are weaknesses for the Heat, but those were the same weaknesses the Heat had when they beat the Indiana Pacers in 6 games last season without Chris Bosh.
With the Pacers being the bigger team, the Heat can basically concede the rebounding numbers, but they then need to step up the other aspects of their games. That was not the case in game two, as this screenshot shows:
As the screenshot shows, the Heat lost the rebound battle by seven, but were still able to fire up seven more shots for the game. They actually only had one less offensive rebound than the Pacers, but that is something the media is unlikely to point out.
Three bigger issues than the rebounding popped up from that screenshot that are bigger concerns for me going forward: Assists/Turnovers, Fast Break Points, and Scoring.
May 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) goes after the ball in front of Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen (34) on a turnover by small forward LeBron James (not pictured) in the fourth quarter of game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. The Pacers won 97-93. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Over 55% of the team’s baskets in the regular season were assisted, but they only had 41% of their shots assisted on in Friday night’s loss. The Heat had as many assists as turnovers in the game. The Heat averages 23 assists a game during the regular season and just 14 turnovers. The turnovers being down from game one were a good sign, but the team needs to up the assist totals in game three.
Lebron on the game had three assists and five turnovers, two of which came late in the game and cost the Heat a chance to even the score. Those two turnovers will be over scrutinized due to point of the game which the occurred in, but the other three turnovers were just as costly.
In game one, the Heat had 24 assists and 20 turnovers. Game three will need to be the correct mixture of games one and two for the Heat to come out on top on the road.
Fast Break Points:
The Miami Heat have scored just 19 points on fast breaks this series. That is a trend that does not bode well for Miami as this series continues. With Roy Hibbert clogging the paint and Dwyane Wade still struggling with injuries, the best chance for the Heat to score is going to be playing a fast paced game.
After a monster game on Friday, the Heat realized they need to do a better job of taking Hibbert out of the game. The best way to do that would be to cause turnovers and pick up steals, something the Heat have done well since their coming together. Turnovers are also an issue the Pacers have struggled with, averaging close to 15 a game during the regular season.
With game three being played in Indiana, where the Heat went 0-2 this season, the team will need to pick up as many turnovers as they can and convert on fast break opportunities. The Heat need to force the Pacers to make closer to the 20 turnovers they had in game one than the 13 they had in game two.
In the regular season, the Miami Heat paced the NBA shooting almost 50% from the field and were second in three point shooting percentage, shooting close to 40%. So far this series, the Heat have shot 47% from the field and just 30% from three.
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