Two straight beatings at home and a 3-1 series deficit will have to bring some change to the Miami Heat's lineups moving forward to Sunday. Almost every lineup the Heat put out in Miami the past two games have not worked.
The Spurs are averaging over 107 points per 100 possessions in the series so far, the most the Heat have given up in the four year "Big 3" era. In the four games so far, San Antonio is shooting 54 percent from the field, the second highest percentage in the NBA Finals since the shot clock era.
Miami has two days to figure out a lineup or lineups to switch something up to deter that. I would strongly suggest ramping up minutes on the defensive side, possibly by starting Udonis Haslem, and dispersing more minutes for Chris Anderson & Shane Battier.
With starting Haslem, it gives them a body down low to bang with Tim Duncan or Boris Diaw. I would have thought Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to have done this by now, instead of opting for Rashard Lewis. Haslem is more of a liability on offense, but would at least provide a shot at more second chance opportunities and limiting them on the Spurs end. The Spurs have a 33-23 edge in offensive rebounds in the series. Limiting those chances can only help.
In Game 2, Miami's only victory, Anderson played 24 minutes, his highest total of the series. He helped keep Tim Duncan in check, as Duncan was 7/14 from the field. The Birdman also brings more physicality in the paint and helps deter Chris Bosh's softness he's developed down low.
Battier can help provide some more perimeter defense on Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard & Manu Ginobili. Those three alone are averaging 41.5 PPG in the series, and that number needs to be decreased significantly. Battier could at least help contain that as he is a very good close out defender and is always relied on as good help defender.
Miami needs to pressure the ball more as San Antonio is coming up the court, use Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to hound Tony Parker the full length of the court. San Antonio is getting into their sets way too easily on offense.
If the Heat have any chance at extending this series, it will start on the defensive end as that can turn into offense.
Get off to a better start! The Spurs leads after the first quarter in the first four games: 6, 7, 16 & 9. Switch the starting lineup up, utilize the bench earlier, Spoelstra has to do something here to change this trend around.
Limit the fouls. The Heat have committed 14 more fouls in the four games, which means the Spurs are getting to the line much more early and often by getting into the bonus. The only game Miami won, they outshot the Spurs 21-20 from the charity stripe. In the three losses, the Spurs have averaged eight more free throw attempts per game.
Last but not least, send a goon in to head hunt. I'm not saying injure anybody, but do something to light a fire under your team! Make Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili think about coming to the paint the next time they touch the ball.
History is not on Miami's side, as no team has ever came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, but if they can make the proper adjustments, along with the greatest player on the planet, look to extend the series Sunday night in San Antonio.
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