On Saturday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely destroyed the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their NBA Playoff series by 38 points. In Game 2, coach Rick Carlisle had the opportunity to adjust and respond.
The result: a one point Mavericks win and home court advantage stolen their way.
The Heat in Game 1 of their battle with the Hornets took them to task with a resounding 34 point win. The Hornets much like the Mavericks did Monday night in Oklahoma City look to also adjust and respond in the same fashion.
Let's not kid ourselves. Game 2 is just as much a must win for the Heat who currently lead their series with the Hornets 1-0 as it is for Charlotte. This is not to scare Heat fans into any false sense of security nor to assume that the Hornets are going to pull the same scenario Dallas did Monday night and likely steal Game 2 because if you are a long time fan of the NBA then you should already know that not every playoff series are created equal. The Thunder have long had their issues with closing out games all season long which unfortunately for them have trickled into their postseason.
That doesn't mean Miami has to fall into the same trap, although in recent weeks they themselves have countered similar issues closing out games -- most notably in their regular season finale vs the Boston Celtics last Wednesday night.
In winning Game 2, which takes place Wednesday night at American Airlines Arena, Miami will take full control of the series heading to Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte for Games 3 and 4. A building where the Hornets are a vastly different team going 30-11 during the regular season.
Winning Game 2 increases the margin of error for the Heat in an already projected tight series.
A lot of things went absolutely right for Miami Sunday afternoon. Luol Deng couldn't miss. Hassan Whiteside's playoff debut could not have gone better. Even the rookies Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson didn't show jitters for their postseason debuts.The Hornets who were one of the hottest teams in the league since the All-Star break especially from the perimeter went 6-17 from three.
Everything fell perfectly in place.
Maybe too perfect.
In Game 2 expect Charlotte to respond and adjust. How Miami reacts and counters will ultimately shape the rest of this playoff series.