In Game 2 of the NBA finals, the San Antonio Spurs missed several crucial free throws that could have given them a better opportunity at obtaining a 2-0 lead over the Miami Heat. Lead by LeBron James and a huge 3-point shot made by Chris Bosh, the Heat surged late in the 4th quarter to defeat the Spurs at home in Game 2 of the 2014 NBA Finals, final score 98-96. Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Tiago splitter struggled from the field and failed to contribute enough to carry the Spurs past the Heat. Tony Parker played a solid game up until he caught a vicious elbow from Mario Chalmers. Parker, in obvious pain, missed two free throws in the 4th quarter and could not find his rhythm after suffering from the hard foul. LeBron James led his team in scoring with 35 points while Chris Bosh finished as the second highest scorer on the team.
The Miami Heat now have the upper hand with two straight games at home, but the Spurs are one of the better teams in the league when playing on the road so I expect them to steal at least one game from the Heat.
Keys to the Game:
San Antonio Spurs: Limit LeBron James’ offensive effectiveness. In game 2, LeBron James went on an scoring rampage in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Kawhi Leonard has not yet proven to me that he can contain LeBron offensively in a one-on-one setting. Leonard has to be more physical, and If LeBron struggles offensively, I don’t think the Heat can win.
Key Players: Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, and Kawhi Leonard.
Splitter has to be more active offensively and defensively, because in game 2 he was a virtual “no-show”. If Splitter can contribute 8-10 points and limit the Heats interior scoring, the Spurs will be a better postion to win. As I mentioned in the Game 2 prediction – Danny Green has to knock down shots early, I don’t think the Spurs can afford to have him struggle as he did in game 2 because the Heat will be even more aggressive on their home court. Kawhi Leonard is another player who has to score the basket and put the pressure on the Miami Heat defense, he cannot afford to get caught up in over-defending LeBron James.
Miami Heat: The Heat have the luxury of having LeBron James and his ability to score at will, but what will happen if he falls into a shooting slump? Will Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh step up? At some point in the series, either Bosh or Wade will be required to have a huge game (scoring wise). As long as the Miami bench remains productive and sinking the open shot, the Heat have a excellent chance of winning this game.
Key Players: LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Rashard Lewis.
LeBron James has to continue to score big numbers while inolving his teammates in the offense. Chris Bosh will be second most important player in this series. As long as he attacks the basket and knocks down the open shot, the Spurs will be force to spread the floor. Rashard Lewis is another player who will have plenty of open looks, he has proven his ability to knock down the three-ball during this series and he looks to have some of his swag back.
Game 3 Prediction:
Heat win: Final score 101 – 97