In a shocking response from the Miami Heat's Game 2 win over the San Antonio Spurs, the Western Conference champions blew out the two-time defending champions for the second straight game 107-86. Instead of looking like another epic NBA Finals series -- as what many thought would emerge after the first two games, this series has the look of a lopsided first-round series.
The only thing left to see in this Finals series is for the Spurs to put the Heat out of their misery. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-1 Finals series deficit, and this team isn't going to do it.
These last two games have simply shown that the Spurs stand as the better team. Any number of possessions from either Game 3 or 4 would show constant ball and man movement from San Antonio and a lot of turnovers and isolation-heavy basketball offense from Miami. On defense, the Heat simply looked exhausted, always a step slow on the Spurs passes.
Arguably Miami's biggest culprit? Dwyane Wade. The 2006 NBA Finals MVP missed numerous shots at the rim -- especially in the first quarter, before the Miami deficit grew large -- and was overmatched on defense, especially when he had the assignment of guarding the burly Boris Diaw. Wade played well as recently as the second half of Game 3 in this series, but he simply had no lift in Game 4. He didn't play well enough to win a game as the team's second-best player, and Miami largely went away from Chris Bosh after he shot efficiently in the opening minutes.
Pundits will pick apart the Heat, but the Spurs played exceptionally well on the road for last these two games. The Spurs would've beaten many other NBA teams with their performances in Games 3 and 4 -- possibly including the Heat team last year that defeated the Spurs but only barely. But it's clear that the Heat need to retool its roster to win another championship. San Antonio has the clearly better team.
Will this be the last home game for James in a Heat uniform? Well, I'm not expecting Miami to force a Game 6. The sense of urgency should have kicked in at the start of Game 4 or at least surely by halftime, and the Heat couldn't put together a sustained run at least once in this game. In Game 3, Miami at least had a couple runs of sustained energy that gave Heat fans legitimate hope. Here? Nothing.
Still, Miami has won two of the past four championships since James arrived. The Heat made four straight Finals. Signing with a team in the Western Conference would make no sense for any top free agent, considering the much tougher road through the playoffs. But such a lopsided Finals series can't look good for James if he wants a team that can remain competitive. Pat Riley will have a lot of selling to do this summer -- and not just to James, Wade and Bosh. He needs to bring dynamic role players.