The Miami Heat bounced back from their Game 1 loss tonight, putting on a defensive clinic against one of the more efficient offensive teams in the league and dismantling one of the tighter defenses on their way to a blowout Game 2 victory. After the dust had settled and the viewing audience got over the shock of seeing Rashard Lewis, Joel Anthony and James Jones battle it out with Matt Bonner, Patty Mills and a cadaver that closely resembled Tracy McGrady for the last 5 minutes of an NBA Finals game Miami had run away with a 103-84 victory, keyed by a 30-5 run that started late in the third quarter and continued until Miami mercifully sat their star players with around 5 minutes left in the fourth.
They Get Knocked Down, But They Get Up Again
I’ve always felt that one of the marks of a great team is the way they respond when things are not going their way, and that is something that this Miami team excels at. They have been incredibly successful, winning 66 regular season games and making the Finals for a third consecutive year, but what really impresses me is how they have dealt with the few losses they’ve suffered. They have lost a total of 21 games in the regular season and the playoffs, they have followed 14 of those with double-digit victories. You’d have to go back to January 8th, when the Heat suffered back to back losses to the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers, to find a loss that was not followed by a blowout victory. A lot of people attribute that kind of success to the team having a mythical “switch” that allows them to increase their level of play, but it’s really a testament to Miami coach Erik Spoelstra and his ability to make changes on the fly as well as his team’s ability to absorb and execute those changes.
Third star: Danny Green. He had a perfect shooting night for the game and his vintage Ray Allen impersonation was the one thing the Heat really didn’t have an answer for. He’s become so good at reading screens when moving off the ball and finding open areas in transition that he’s more than a mere spot up shooter now, he’s a valuable offensive weapon, stretching defences with his shooting ability and finding holes in it when it breaks down.
Second star: Mario Chalmers. It wasn’t so much what he did as it was when he did it. With both teams struggling offensively and neither squads’ star players really able to give their team that push to take a commanding lead, Chalmers was the one who broke the game open. With the Heat down 62-61 and 3:16 to go in the third quarter Chalmers closed out the quarter by getting two and-1’s and assisting on two Miami baskets for another five points as Miami grabbed the lead from the Spurs and extended it to double digits by the end of the quarter.
First star: LeBron James. The amazing thing about LeBron is the way he can have what is, for him, a subpar night offensively and still make it obvious that he’s the best player on the floor. He didn’t have the kind of offensive performance we’ve come to expect but he had two spectacular blocks, some very timely steals and was clearly the anchor of a great Miami defensive performance that forced Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili into a combined 8 turnovers and limited San Antonio’s “Big Three” to combined 10-33 shooting.
Play of the Game
There isn’t really any debate about this, it was definitely Tiago Splitter deciding to challenge the best player on the planet and being reminded exactly why he is the best player on the planet: