Q: A big part of the Heat's defensive strategy is to swarm and disrupt the opposing team, which hopefully leads to turnovers. Lots of double-teams, quick rotations and team help defense. One of the ways to beat the Heat's defensive schemes is to be patient as the double-teams form and then pass the ball quickly. The Spurs are well coached and do a great job of moving the ball. They have the players and skill set to break the Heat's defensive schemes, which instead of Spurs turnovers could lead to easy baskets for the Spurs. Do you think the Heat should play more man-to-man defense instead of swarming trap defense? If you stay in front of your man, the other team has to shoot over you and doesn't get open threes. -- Stuart.
A: I don't think you change what you're doing at this stage, unless you become convinced that doing it better wouldn't make a difference. And I wouldn't overstate double-teams or taps. For the Heat, it's more a factor of being active in the man-to-man defense you describe. A lot of times additional energy can make all the difference. With these two days off, we'll see what happens once the "fatigue" angle is eliminated.
Q: I don't care what anyone is saying, San Antonio is not OKC, so you can't assume Miami will win the next four. Fans here are not realistic. Miami is in big trouble. San Antonio played average and still won. Now they have a chance to play great on Sunday and steal both here, plus have three straight at home. This is bad, really bad. -- Julio.
A: Not if the Heat, too, take a step forward, since they won the majority of minutes in Game 1. And if the Heat win Sunday, it's highly unlikely they then would lose three in a row in San Antonio, meaning for the Spurs to win the series, they would have to do it in Miami.
Q: It is disappointing and shocking how Shane Battier's shot has disappeared. If he shot in the playoffs like he did in the regular season, the Heat would be breezing through these games. -- Joel.
A: It is stunning, and he seemingly can't but a break, with a pair rimming out in Game 1. To Erik Spoelstra's credit, he has limited the leash. But I think the entire roster would breathe a sigh of relief if Battier could come out and drain a pair.
JUNE 8, 2013
Q: Everyone is talking that the Spurs are so much better than the Heat. The Spurs won by four points. Tony Parker hit an incredible shot at the end. Everything gets exaggerated. If you break the game into three-minute mini-games, the Heat lost too many of those games within the game. They didn't close at the end of the half, at the end of the third quarter, and when they had a few leads they could never pull away. That is where the game was lost, not on Parker's shot. -- Stuart.
A: I agree. For most of the night, the Heat outplayed the Spurs, but, as you say, not by enough in those stretches. I thought Thursday offered a necessary lesson, that even when playing relatively well, the Heat can't afford empty possessions. When this Heat team relaxes, it can be infuriating. I don't think that will be the case Sunday, after that Game 1 loss.
Q: Is Erik Spoelstra really happy with Chris Bosh taking the long-distance threes? Bosh can be more productive by making himself available for the dump-off pass sometimes, the way Birdman is utilized. The occasional corner three (once or twice a game) is OK, but his best work is done from about 17 feet. -- Robert.
A: I think that also will be a case of a lesson learned from Game 1. The greater issue is whether Chris' sprained left ankle is healed enough to allow him to play with force.
Q: Why didn't the Heat attack the basket like Game 7 against Indiana? When they settle for 3-point shots, frequently bad ones, are they ever that dominant? -- Scott.
A: No. But the Spurs were packing the lane defensively, often seemingly with five players each with a foot in the paint. The only way to overcome that is to hit outside shots or to get into offense before the defense can get settled. I think the Heat will try to quicken the pace of those attacks in Game 2.
JUNE 7, 2013
Q: The frustration with the Heat used to center around Mario Chalmers. The baton has been passed to Chris Bosh. Maybe with Bosh missing the late 3-pointer, the Heat will finally realize his game needs to go back to the paint. -- Eric.
A: But that's never been his game, either. What he is, is an excellent mid-range shooter who occasionally takes his offense into the post. The problem is that this has become spacing on steroids, especially as the Heat try to establish LeBron James in the post. As was the case in the Pacers series, a Bosh who plays too deep on the perimeter on offense tends to be a Bosh who floats through the game. The Heat need more from Bosh, something closer to when he was loading up on rebounds against the Bulls.
Q: Erik Spoelstra had both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both out to start the fourth quarter. Wow. When James is out, you need Wade and Bosh in. -- Martin.