How one game can change the narrative! Two night ago, LeBron James was indecisive, passive, and stationary. The Heat followed his lead, and lost a close home game to Boston. Last night, LeBron James flipped the script, leading the Heat to an unlikely road victory in Boston – a blowout in fact. It helped that Boston shot poorly as a team – 42% from the field, including an uncharacteristic 6-14 from KG. It helped that they only hit one three pointer. But the difference last night was in the Miami offense. They consistently found ways to hit James and Wade (who had another terrible first half before picking it up a little in the second) on the move, providing them with better opportunities against the staunch Celtic defense. And of course, LeBron James hit almost every shot that left his hand – his shot chart and expanse of little circles dotting every area of the court.
Last night’s performance by James was many things: heroic, oversized, confident, and focused. However, it cannot be how the Heat plan on winning the rest of their games this post season. It’s simply not that replicable. James had 19 of Miami’s 37 FG makes, while shooting only 26 of Miami’s 76 FG attempts. Think about that! He had more than half the team’s points on only one third of the team’s shots. Meanwhile, the rest of the Heat went a dead cold 18-50 – otherwise known as 36%. Particularly suspect was Dwayne Wade’s 6-17 shooting performance. While he did fill up the stat sheet, we know on most nights the Heat will need more from him to win. And that includes game seven.
Boston, for their part, is a veteran squad. They were perhaps a little over confident coming into the game. For whatever reason, they seemed to ease of the accelerator last night. Make no mistake, they will be ready for game seven in Miami. They’ll be ready for any possibility. And in the unlikely even that James has a second massively monster game in a row, the Celtics will make sure that it takes effort and execution by the rest of the Heat as well to win the game.
Can Dwayne Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Bosh step up enough to provide LeBron James with the support to knock Boston out of the playoffs for the second year in a row? Will Miami be able to execute ball movement, and player movement against staunch defense? Will the Celtics be able to climb out of their shooting slump? Will they be able to adjust their defense enough to stymy the Heat?
Answers to all this and more, Saturday night!