Round Two starts tomorrow at the Triple A. There's been much speculation that the Heat could be in some trouble as they were swept by the Nets in the regular season. The Heat (in regulation) lost those four games by a combined three points. There will be no nicknames on the back of jerseys in this series and I'm predicting there will be no trouble for the Heat. My prediction: Heat in 5.
After sweeping the Bobcats, the Heat haven't played a game in over a week. Last year's Rust vs. Rest matchup went to the Rust as the Heat dropped the first game to the Chicago Bulls. However, the Heat went on to win four straight to advance to the ECF. Don't expect the Heat to come out rusty tomorrow night. They have something to prove against the Nets. The Heat have used these days off to get healthy and to get better.
We had a glimpse in the first round at what a healthy Dwyane Wade could mean to the Heat. He wasn't needed as Lebron dominated, but Coach Spoelstra wasn't willing to push Wade just yet. He averaged just 33 minutes a game in the first round. However, Wade did average 17.5 points on 49% shooting. Look for Vintage Wade to break out in this series as he individually has something to prove.
After the first round who's leading the playoffs in scoring? It's "The King" Lebron James. Lebron averaged 30 points 8 rebounds and 6 assists in the first round. He also showed off his defensive talent ranking fourth in steals at 2.25 a game. If James continues to produce at this level, there's no telling how far the Heat will go. As Kevin Durant will likely accept his MVP trophy later this week, Lebron will be showing the world that he's the best player in this league.
During Game 7 of the Thunder-Grizzlies, the commentator said, "Kevin Durant needs to use his 3-point shot as a curve ball and use his mid-range game as his fastball." I agree that Chris Bosh should do the same. He's proven throughout his career that he can stroke the mid-range jumper as well as drive the close out after a pump fake. Bosh is shooting an outstanding 69% from downtown in the playoffs, but I think he can be more effective facing up in the post rather than roaming the 3-point line while the Heat will go small to matchup with the Nets.
If the Heat want to make a serious run at a title, they will need to continue to get a significant impact from the role players. Birdman was outstanding in the first round. I believe the bench can take on the "Mike Miller" role by committee. One night Ray Allen could catch fire and the next it could be James Jones. The Heat look to roll into the ECF as the Western Conference continues to wear each other down.