The Miami Heat are heading into Game 2 of the NBA Finals with the whole world thinking they will be lucky to avoid a sweep. Being down by as many as 32 points in Game 1 was not a good sign.
The Heat lost Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo during the game, who are both listed as doubtful for tonight, and they got shook after a 13 point first quarter lead evaporated before the quarter ended.
Now, heading into Game 2, the Heat (Spoelstra mostly) will need to make adjustments. So here’s some ideas.
ADJUSTMENT #1 — DON’T ADJUST TO THE LAKERS THREES
OK, I realize that is not an adjustment — but that’s the idea. Game 1 saw the Lakers go 11-17 from three in the first-half. The FIRST HALF! That was an all-time L.A. Lakers record for a playoff game...and they have played in a lot of playoff games all-time. Many of those were from the guys you want taking them — Rondo, KCP, Kuzma, Morris.
The Lakers are mostly a sub average 3-point shooting team at 35%. Let the water come to level and hope that the Lakers do not continue to scorch us from outside. Yes, you need to guard Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Danny Green well from outside, but if giving up a three to KCP keeps James or Davis from scoring at the rim, you take your chances.
The Heat should keep, mostly, their defensive plan against the Lakers and see things even out. Imagine if L.A. makes 5-17 instead in the first half. We are having a different conversation right now.
ADJUSTMENT #2 — AVOID ULTRA-SMALL BALL
The Heat can no longer realistically survive with lineups that have Andre Iguodala or Solomon Hill playing center. It’s not going to work. We expect Bam Adebayo not to play Game 2. If he doesn’t, there will need to be a steady diet of Kelly Olynyk and possibly Meyers Leonard to have some size.
Kelly creates enough problems for the Lakers on the offense end to make him useful. If he can just create some type of help defensively to keep AD from scoring without resistance then it will help. Maybe without Bam, the Kelly-keeper can return.
Leonard hasn’t looked good in Orlando...like at all. But then again neither had Kendrick Nunn and look what he did (18 points in the second half of Game 1). If Meyers can give you some minutes muscling around on defense...and hopefully not feeling like he has a green light on offense, then he can be serviceable. Without Bam, Miami needs to create some size the help keep the Lakers from easy baskets—that’s the goal.
ADJUSTMENT #3 — HELP DUNCAN ROBINSON SCORE
Simple enough, right? He went scoreless in Game 1. Without the scoring punch of Dragic, Robinson has to score...but the Heat need to do a better job of getting him open. The Lakers dialed in on their approach to him in Game 1. It’s going to be hard to change that. Bam is one of the primary screen setters for Duncan. So they have some work to do there.
But the Heat simply cannot play him that many minutes if he isn’t going to produce on offense. Miami can do this by running some double screen actions for him instead of the simple hand-off. Robinson has proved to be a good enough passer out of doubles to a roller to help make this work. If Robinson can score 12 points from range, the Heat offense opens up.
They need him.
BONUS ADJUSTMENT #4 — SEND IMMEDIATE DOUBLES ON ROBINSON/HERRO ISOS
The Heat got roasted when Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson got switched on LeBron James for iso’s. He pulled them out, drove on them and created or scored. As soon as they decide to switch that, help needs to come from someone around the perimeter and not from AD’s man.
This won’t be easy...but hey...if we are going to lose—let’s not let it be because the best player in the NBA gets to go one on one against Duncan Robinson and 20-year-old Herro for some bully ball.
What adjustments to do you think the Heat need to make tonight?