In the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat could get away with an unbalanced offensive attack. As long as they got their expected 30 points from James -- his low in that series was 29 -- and another 20-25 from Dwyane Wade, they could scrounge enough from their long list of role players. With Chris Bosh back, though not yet in a starting role, that was expected to get easier against the Thunder.
But Bosh still isn't completely right and may not be the rest of this series. He scored 10 points off the bench Tuesday. Mike Miller provided the only other basket from Miami's reserves in a game in which only eight men played and Miller and Joel Anthony for just a combined 12 minutes. Even with that extra playing time, no Heat player other than James topped Wade's 19 points. That's not good enough against a ruthless offensive team like Oklahoma City.
"They're a very good offensive team. But we're a better defensive team than we showed [Tuesday]," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. He later added that "when we're not defending, we don't get opportunities in the open court, and then when we don't attack, we don't get as many opportunities in the paint or the free throw line. They're fast. They're explosive, so we'll have to adjust to that speed."
They need to adjust because that wasn't something they had to worry about against Boston and its creaky veterans. Only point guard Rajon Rondo was capable of hurting them in the open court. But the Thunder have far more options to take advantage of that space. This is unlikely to turn into a grind-it-out series, so Miami needs to find a way to nudge closer to the 100 points-per-game mark. But with only two consistent offensive options -- and even Wade has been a question mark at times this postseason -- is that realistic?
- Brian McNally