The moment I heard that Chris Bosh would not be starting in Game 1 I knew the Heat would lose.
Why? Well, it’s simple. Small ball don’t win championships. Erik Spoelstra (“stay the course”) didn’t make that decision because he feared altering the balance and momentum of his team by moving the All-Star PF back into the lineup. It’s not like Miami was on some great roll sweeping through the playoffs.
Miami’s head coach is trying to mimic Gregg Popovich by keeping one of his stars on the bench in order to balance out the talent and go with a smaller lineup.
Get your own style, ‘Spo’.
The truth is, Erik wanted to stay small for two major reasons, and neither of them are good signs for Heat fans:
1. ‘Spo’ has already conceded that the Thunder are bigger and stronger inside (and more versatile). Before even trying to bump heads with big boys like Perkins, Ibaka, and Collison he has decided to go the small route with Battier and Lebron at the forward spots, and the tiny Haslem at center.
2. ‘Spo’ wants to hide Lebron James on the defensive end. For much of Game 1, LBJ rested on Kendrick Perkins (something Erik stole from Mike Brown, circa 2008). Believe it or not, Kendrick isn’t that much bigger than ‘Bron. That allowed Battier to guard Durant while Wade/Chalmers tag-teamed Westbrook. If Miami went with a traditional lineup with LBJ at the SF, he’d be forced to defense KD. Does this sound like a league MVP to you? Well, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowtizki have been hidden on the defensive end for most of their careers and they both have MVP trophies (flashbacks of Steve guarding Bruce Bowen)…maybe this is just the new NBA.
OKC’s head coach pushed all the right buttons on Tuesday night…and he did so not by some cheat-sheet or equations, but by the feel of the game and the feel of his team. Ibaka and Perkins sat as Collison quietly dominated the paint…James Harden, too, wasn’t called upon. Brooks was calling shots. Miami’s coach? he was just reacting to the other side.
If the Miami Heat are to win the 2012 NBA Championship, they will have to confront their matchups head-on.
Lebron James will have to check Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade will defend Russell Westbrook.
Erik Spoelstra must also out-coach Scott Brooks…..something that didn’t happen in Game 1.
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