James, Heat have plan for Game 4 fixes
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO — Whether the words were delivered with animation (Chris Bosh), calm (Dwyane Wade and LeBron James) or intensity (Erik Spoelstra), the Miami Heat message is the same going into Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Regardless of Miami’s poor and uncharacteristic offensive production in the San Antonio Spurs’ 113-77 Game 3 victory on Tuesday, the Heat are more concerned with their apathetic defense.
“It’s really embarrassing to be a part of that,” Bosh said.
“If we bring that same effort and focus the next game, it will be the same outcome,” Wade offered.
“We have to get stops,” James said.
“You usually get what you deserve in this league in terms of teams putting forth more effort or more focus, more attention to detail,” Spoelstra said.
The defense that was atrocious has to be better Thursday night, especially against the Spurs’ shooters, who made a Finals-record 16 threes on 32 tries, including 13-for-19 from guards Danny Green and Gary Neal.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined for 21 points. That almost always ensures a Spur loss, but it didn’t in a game when the Heat had trouble guarding anyone else.
“We have to look for opportunities to get easy shots,” Bosh said. “We can’t do that if we’re constantly taking the ball out the net. So some shots you’re going to miss, some you’re going to make. But it starts with the defensive end, and really getting that kind of intense pressure and kind of really propelling yourself for the rest of the game.”
This is how it works for the Heat. Their offense starts with their defense, and they are at their best when they are rebounding missed shots, pushing the basketball before the defense has a chance to set up and putting pressure on defenders.
That style creates so many opportunities, starting with James. It gives James more one-on-one coverage and helps prevent the defense from loading up on his side of the floor. The less team defense James has to deal with, the more he can drive to the basket or find open shooters.
Miami is most dangerous in transition, as … [For more on LeBron James, Miami Heat have plan for Game 4 fixes, click here.]