Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heat In Trouble

The Miami Heat is in big trouble. This team can't win the NBA title. The way they looked in that game 1 loss on Tuesday, in Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena, they'll be lucky to win a game against the Thunder.

Yes, the Heat did come out strong, jumping out to a 13-point lead in the first half of Tuesday's game. But that meant nothing. Thunder watchers know the team is notoriously slow-starting, playing tentatively in the first half. In this case, since this was OKC's first NBA Finals game, jitters were a factor. In the second half, though, OKC did what it usually does--bury the opposition.

The Heat didn't hold back, blasting the Thunder, full ammunition. The Heat's biggest gun, LeBron James, had the best scoring NBA Finals game of his career, with 30. Dwyane Wade added 19. Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier combined for 29 points. Chris Bosh added 10. But all that firepower wasn't nearly enough. The Thunder's Kevin Durant exploded for 36 points. Right behind him was Russell Westbrook with 27 points and 11 assists. But nobody else had a great game. James Harden scored only 5 and Serge Ibaka didn't block a shot. Nick Collison, though, did get 10 boards. While this was, overall, a subpar Thunder game, OKC still rolled over the Heat. 105-94. Imagine what will happen if the Heat plays well. You know Harden, after that lousy effort, is due for a big game.

The Heat is limited by health problems. Mainly, Wade is very quietly ailing. He's not saying what's wrong but, according to insiders, he's far from 100%. Bosh isn't fully healed either. He's playing outside, shooting jumpers, rather than roaming the middle, where's he most effective. James can't do it by himself. Wade and Bosh have to seriously amp up their games. So do the role players.

 A ferocious effort by the Heat might win the team a game or two at home. But Miami whipping the Thunder, an excellent road team, and winning the NBA title in this seven-game series, just isn't going to happen.