Written By Nicolas Papa (10-1-2020)
If you watched game one of the NBA Finals on Wednesday you saw the Miami Heat get dominated all game long against the powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers. Contrary to popular belief this series could be a long one if the Miami Heat could execute on the things I mention below.
1. Keep the rebounding battle close
Obviously when these two teams matchup we could see a notable size advantage for the Lakers with 7 footers AD and Dwight Howard matching up against 6’10 Bam Adebayo and 6’6 Jae Crowder. In game one the Lakers dominated the Heat on the boards by a score of 54-36. Now it’s very unlikely the Heat will be able to win in the rebounding category at all this series just based off size alone, but they could keep it close. Bam is going to have to work hard down there and we might even need to see Kelly Olynyk or Meyers Leonard get some solid playing time alongside Bam. Even though neither of these men are great rebounders they do have the size to at least attempt to box out the big bodies the Lakers have.
2. Stop the role players
Now I know what you’re thinking, why would the Heat prioritize stopping the Lakers role players over LeBron and AD? The answer is LeBron and AD can’t be stopped. No matter what they are going to get their way but if you stop the role players you are forcing LeBron James and Anthony Davis to work on their own and force shots. The Lakers shot well tonight from 3 at 40% but that likely won’t happen all series long. The Heat need to get out on the perimeter and deny open shots to Laker shooters such as Danny Green, KCP, and even Alex Caurso. The Heat may even look into running the Zone more often with LeBron James or Anthony Davis off the court. The zone could be useful but the Lakers have the ability to break it with AD being the focus around the free throw line and High IQ players like LeBron and Rajon Rondo trying to feed it to him.
3. Play Miami Heat basketball
At times in game one the Heat weren’t moving the ball around like they have throughout the bubble. Guys were standing around watching another guy dribble. The Heat need to get back to constant movement to create space for shooters. They also have to knock down Jumpers, they won’t beat this Lakers team shooting 31% from three and that should be known. The Lakers are one of the best defensive teams in the league so Miami needs to be able to hit open shots. Against two of the top 10 players in the world the Heat have to stay out of foul trouble and get themselves to the free throw line at the other end. The Lakers took 13 more free throws than the Heat in game one and that was a killer all game long. Last but not least we need to see more energy from the Heat throughout the whole game. After that first quarter they looked defeated. It felt as if Kendrick Nunn, the man who has been struggling in the bubble, was the only one who came to play. Even with injuries to key players such as Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo the Heat should be able to make this a competitive series after seeing what they were up against in game one.