MMD June 9, 2014 0

The Heat come into tonight down a game after a 110-95 loss on Thursday. The main story to come out of Game 1 was the broken air conditioning at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, which most likely led to LeBron James cramping up and not being able to finish the game. This in turn led to a bunch of schmucks in the media and some jackass who runs the Gatorade Twitter account to criticize James for not being able to tough it out. So while those poor slobs continue to be not able to comprehend what it’s like to play the game of basketball, allow me to enlighten:

Basketball is different from other sports. We have chronicled this issue here at mensmagdaily a lot this season. Talent wins out in basketball because athleticism determines the winner of a game more than in any other sport. You can play through broken bones and torn muscles in football and hockey because you can still do what your position requires. Derek Stepan can play in the Stanley Cup Finals with a broken jaw because he can still skate and pass and shoot. Jake Long didn’t miss a game with a separated shoulder two years back because his blocking power is derived from his legs and he is strong enough to favor one arm. Now I’m not doubting the toughness of these guys, and in general it is absolutely true that football and hockey players play through insane injuries. My point is that if you have a cramp you can’t sprint in short explosive bursts and immediately jump. Go ahead, try it you media buffoons. If you were one of those people saying x player in football or hockey played with y injury and LeBron left the game with just a little cramp – you are an idiot and you do not understand the game of basketball. Moving on.

Thursday was a close game until the 4th quarter, in which San Antonio outscored Miami 36-17 including a 30-9 run that put the game away with LeBron on the sidelines. The Spurs went 14/16 from the field in the final period. They most likely will not do that again. However, these two teams really can shoot the lights (or the AC?) out. They are the two best three point shooting teams in the league – each at about 40% – so look for both teams to try to make a run by drilling a few three-balls in a row at some point. The Spurs won despite having 22 turnovers in Game 1, if they are that careless with the ball again tonight, Miami will make them pay in chunks of three.

For most of the game Miami did a great job defensively. They kept Tony Parker from his number one option on most plays, defended the pick and roll extremely well, and as mentioned previously caused the Spurs to cough it up 22 times. Norris Cole did a much better job defending Parker than Mario Chalmers, who was tagged for five fouls. You have to wonder if we’ll see more of Cole as this series progresses like we did in the Indiana series. Manu Ginobili had no problem picking up the slack and driving the Spurs offense with 11 assists, most of them perfect passes to Tim Duncan in the paint. The Argentine added 16 points 5 bounds and 3 steals. Parker wasn’t as effective as usual, and still had 19 points and 8 dimes – that’s right folks, that’s what Parker does on an “off” night.

The Spurs decided to guard Chris Bosh by using a combination of Duncan and Tiago Splitter. As we said in our preview Bosh should have no problem here (although we didn’t expect Splitter in this matchup) and he didn’t by dropping 18 with 9 boards. I assume the Spurs are using Splitter to keep Duncan out of foul trouble, and because Duncan is better suited to guard the more agile Rashard Lewis, but Duncan and Bosh will still see plenty of each other. Duncan was guarded almost exclusively by Bosh and dominated the paint with 21 and 10. Bosh can’t contain Duncan inside, and the Splitter/Duncan combo doesn’t really have the ability to stop Bosh from getting the shots he wants on the perimeter, so expect Bosh and Duncan to continue to light it up throughout the series. Surprise surprise.

D-Wade played like his old self offensively scoring 19, but not so much on the defensive end. If he is not going to be able to put pressure on Danny Green up top, look for Green to hit some dagger three balls as he did in the 4th quarter of Game 1.

Boris Diaw had a good night off the bench with 10 boards and 6 assists, but was not even close to being a deterrent against LeBron. James took the ball to the rack every chance he could against Diaw, and pretty much had his way with him. Considering their last few matchups this came as a bit of a surprise, as Diaw did an excellent job against LeBron previously. If he can no longer contribute in that regard, it is absolutely paramount to the Spurs success that Kawhi Leonard stay out of foul trouble unlike Game 1, where he wasn’t on the floor against LeBron nearly enough. Considering the last game you would have to assume it’s going to be Leonard vs. LeBron for most of the rest of the series.

The Heat have won 12 consecutive games following a playoff loss, and LeBron always responds to off-games as well as his detractors. I expect a triple-double tonight, and a big fat smile to all the haters. We’ve said this before but it bears repeating: do not anger The King.

Article By: Anthony Schiano

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