LeBron James' buzzer-beating layup in overtime prevented the Indiana Pacers from stealing home-court advantage and gave Miami a 1-0 series lead. NBA teams that have gone up 2-0 in best-of-seven series eventually win the series 94 percent of the time, so the Heat players would put themselves in a great position to advance to the Finals with a win tonight. What does Miami have to do to improve from Wednesday night's nail-biting win?
At the most simplistic level, the Heat has to cut down its turnovers and improve its 3-point shooting. Progress on both of those fronts will go a long way toward improving from Miami's somewhat disjointed offense in Game 1. Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Norris Cole -- three of the Heat's key reserves -- shot a combined 1-for-9 from downtown Wednesday. The only player who shot well from beyond the arc in Game 1 -- Mario Chalmers -- missed nearly the entire second half with a shoulder injury. Fortunately, Chalmers is expected to return for Game 2. The Heat also turned the ball over 21 times in Game 1, with James, Dwyane Wade and Cole accounting for 12 of those mishaps. Miami has generally done a good job of minimizing turnovers this season, so one would expect that number to drop.
Defensively, the Heat still hasn't figured out how to defend David West effectively; he shot 11-for-17 from the field in Game 1. Miami's defensive rotations have to be a little sharper so that West doesn't have those open 17-foot jumpers that he knocked down with ease Wednesday. Moreover, West scored three of his baskets on simple layups after grabbing offensive rebounds. Miami did a pretty good job on the glass in Game 1, but Battier and Udonis Haslem will need to prevent West from those second-chance opportunities.
The Heat and Pacers will tip-off shortly after 8:30 p.m. on TNT.
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