(photo by: www.nydailynews.com)
There has been a growing debate around the sports world on the reason that the Heat are down 0-1 against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. Many fingers are pointing at LeBron James because he failed to score points down the 4th quarter stretch of game 1. However, there are a couple of other reasons that the Heat suffered a loss at home. Slow down you LeBron critics! The Spurs played a great game. On the other hand, the Heat didn’t really play as well as they normally do at home.
A key factor in game 1 was the rebounding differential. The Heat outrebounded the Spurs 46 to 37 but what many people are not realizing is that LeBron pulled down 18 of those boards by himself. Numbers never lie and most likely will tell the story of the game. Heat frontcourt players Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh combined for only 9 rebounds and were outrebounded by 6’7″ Kawhi Leonard, who had 10 rebounds. It’s understandable if 7-foot Tim Duncan outrebounds the Miami big men but getting outrebounded by a 6’7″ small forward is unacceptable, especially in the NBA Finals!
A second factor of game 1 was the difference in leadership at the point guard position. In a critical stage such as the NBA Finals, winning the point guard battle is a great way to gain an edge over the opposing team. Tony Parker did more than just win the point guard battle in game 1. He dominated it! Parker had 21 points, 6 assists and had no turnovers. Heat point guards Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole combined for 13 points, 6 assists and 2 turnovers. Parker is seemingly unguardable when matched up with either Chalmers or Cole. Although the idea has came up, the Heat might not be able to put LeBron James on Parker because the quickness and number of picks that Parker receives may tire James out. Chalmers and Cole need to try harder to match Parker’s intensity because lord knows that it will be hard to match his offensive skills. The least they can do is make him work a bit harder!
Miami is probably the team with more talent but San Antonio possesses team chemistry and knowledge that is unmatched in the NBA. In order to tie the series, the Heat must outwork the Spurs. It’s very hard to beat the Spurs mentally, so the Heat have to use their speed, athleticism and physicality to their advantage. Somebody besides LeBron really has to get on the boards for Miami in game 2. Does anybody have the guts to challenge Parker? All questions will be answered in a highly anticipated game 2. Tipoff is at 8:00 PM ET on ABC. Don’t miss it because game 2 is a pivotal game in this series.