Miami Mail (Formally Known As “Monday Mailbag”)

With Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals under their belt, the Miami Heat are taking on the San Antonio Spurs once again tonight, June 8. Mostly in part because of the air conditioner fiasco and LeBron James’ leg cramps, the start of this series had many people talking. Of course, being as invested in the team as I am, I joined the conversation any way that I could. Here are some things I was asked:

Will James be fine in Game 2?

According to James, he is doing a lot better.” How much better that is, I cannot be sure, but I do know both him and the prestigious team of doctors that work with the team are doing everything they can to assure he stays healthy. It is no secret that James has issues with his legs cramping up, but we also need to keep in mind that the conditions he was playing in on Thursday night, were extreme. At one point, the temperature on the court was 90 degrees. That is unheard of. And for someone who usually likes to practice and play in cool conditions, quite dangerous. In an attempt to reverse the cramps, James took seven cramping pills, filled his body with electrolytes and consumed two and a half bags of fluids via an IV. It may be a stretch to say that he will be back 100 percent on Sunday, but as long as he keeps hydrated, does not push himself too hard and the air conditioner is once again working, he should be good to go.

How does the big man matchup of Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan look to you?

Intense. Although most people focused on the temperature issue and the status of James, there was definitely a story to be told about how Bosh and Duncan went after each other in Game 1. While Bosh scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Duncan had 21 and 10. Both of these big guys certainly went hard, and helped lead their team in the right direction. In fact, Miami only had 29 rebounds to their name when it was all said and done, 10 less than their opponent. However, with that said, Duncan alone committed five turnovers, and the squad as a whole tallied 23, something that could absolutely hurt the Spurs in the long run. Going into this series, many people were worried that Bosh could not handle Duncan, who overall is generally more consistent and composed. But from what I have seen already, so far so good.

What should the Heat focus on moving forward?

First off, I was thrilled to see that Miami stayed away from a slow start. Like I have said before, the habit of having to play catch-up is detrimental to the Heat. Unless they set the pace and make the opposition play their game, things generally do not work out in their favor. Because of this, that would be the number one thing I think Miami (and in particular, James), need to stay on top of, moving forward. With this said, I think forcing turnovers would be a great tactic to consider. The Spurs recorded 23 in their first meeting, only one less than their playoff record high, and probably should have resulted in a loss. Turnovers obviously lead to more ball time for the other team, but it also creates a chaotic atmosphere, stemming from a feeling of not having control. From that comes rushed shots and sloppy play, and all of that combined simply cannot win a game. Lastly, something else I have been saying all postseason, Miami needs all of it’s players involved. This is always the case, but it especially becomes true when playing against a team known for their depth. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis helped out (with 16 and ten points respectively), but I was looking for more out of guys like Chris Andersen and Norris Cole, who each only scored two points and held three rebounds.

Keep those questions coming everyone! Email me at atachaue@depaul.edu or tweet me at @ChitownHeiress.

Rematch: Game 1 of the 2014 Finals

(Photo Credit: www.espn.com)

Come June 5, the NBA will hold it’s first playoff final rematch since 1998. Last year, the Miami Heat were victorious over the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series, winning their second consecutive championship. Miami, gunning for a three-peat, hopes to once again come out on top.

The Heat, fresh off of a six-game series win over the Indiana Pacers, know that their overall performance must improve if they indeed wish to be successful against the Spurs. Slow start, streaky play and spotty defense cannot have any part of this matchup.

LeBron James, who struggled with his energy and finding his rhythm in the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals, must leave that bad habit in the past, and start off strong. Miami always seems to do better when they get to set the pace. Likewise, key components such as Chris Bosh must be present. Bosh, who was ineffective on both ends of the floor for the first half of the series against the Pacers, must do everything in his power to keep up the groove he found himself in, in Game 4.  James and Dwyane Wade need the third wheel of their Big Three tricycle to maneuver their way past San Antonio.

With all that said however, defense will be the deciding factor. The Spurs, known for their depth and ball movement, will take it anything but easy on Miami. Left with a sour taste in their mouths, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the Texan-gang want their revenge. Although sticking to the fundamentals as usual, San Antonio has played stellar basketball this year. They came out of the regular season with the best record in the league, using a whopping 30 different lineups, lead by head coach Gregg Popovich who has guided the Spurs to six final appearances.

However, this is not to take anything away from the Heat, whose bench has outscored the opponents’ bench in 11 of 15 games during the postseason. Their record ties their best playoff start (from 2011) through 15 games in team history and head coach Erik Spoelstra is only the thirteenth NBA coach to win multiple titles.

Miami has tied 1-1 with San Antonio during the regular season and it is now time to see how they will fair during their postseason battle. Personally, my guess is the Heat in 7, but how do you all feel? Let me know via the poll, below!