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Friday, June 7th, 2013 at 10:30 am  |  68 responses

LeBron James Says Heat Teammates Will Hit Open Shots in Game 2


The San Antonio Spurs turned LeBron James into a passer for much of Game 1, daring his Miami Heat teammates to knock down open shots as the NBA Finals kicked off. They could not, and the Spurs took home a 92-88 win. James, however, says he’s confident that will change as the series moves forward. Per ESPN: “There were no tricks, just an elementary mission: make James’ teammates beat them. That’s right. Popovich was betting that the team that won 66 games in the regular season and put up some of the best shooting numbers of the last decade can’t do it currently. He was sending the message he didn’t think Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh deserved the credit, at least right now, that their résumés suggested. And he sure didn’t seem to be all that scared of the once-mighty shooting triumvirate of Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers. During the 10 days the Spurs had off after they finished their sweep in the last round, Popovich wasn’t drilling his players endlessly, poring over advanced spatial analysis statistics to devise ‘cold zones’ or dreaming up radical defensive alignments. He was watching the Heat play games. Quite obviously, he noticed that James’ teammates — once so supportive and well-rounded they collectively challenged one of the most untouchable win streaks in all of sports — haven’t exactly been contributing all that well. What of the Heat’s “positionless” offense that combined so-called ‘small ball’ with tactics to ‘stretch the floor?’ Popovich’s strategy dismissed it like so many annoying questions from a pesky sideline reporter. [...] The Heat did make five of their first 10 3-pointers and the crowd was going wild, figuring the old Heat were back. Wade was getting into the paint and putting the ball in the hoop, his knee saying the last three months of eye tests didn’t matter. Bosh was executing spin moves to the rim. ‘One second-guesses oneself often in the meat of these games,’ Popovich said. ‘Whether you stick with a certain strategy or change it.’ Popovich, though, stuck with it. He knew what he’d seen over the last couple weeks and he was going to stay with what he knew. James had to keep passing out crowds with nowhere to turn. The Heat made three of their last 15 3-pointers. Wade scored four points in the second half. Bosh bricked several wide-open looks the Spurs blatantly dared him to take in the final minute, the thought of putting the ball on the floor and challenging Tim Duncan not seeming to cross his mind. [...] ‘They did a good job of putting two guys on the ball … and dared me to pass,’ James said. ‘I know my guys will be there to knock those shots down in the next game.’”

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  • pposse

    8/25 from 3 pt range is standard percentages! How about a new game plan!?

  • shutup

    Not if its Chris Bosh taking those long bombs regularly.

  • Zabbah

    THE ONLY THING YOUR GUYS WILL KNOCK DOWN WILL BE GAYS, AND BOSH WILL DO 75% OF THE DAMAGE TO THEIR BUNGHOLES.

  • Farts McCool

    “I’m a better player (than in 2007) and you can’t dare me to do anything I don’t want to do in 2013.” – LeBron pre-finals press conference

    “They did a good job of putting two guys on the ball … and dared me to pass” – LeBron after finals game 1

    Either LeBron spoke too soon or Pops was smart enough to write this quot down on his notepad.

  • shockexchange

    Either teammates are going to have to hit open shots or The Kang has got to shoot better from mid-range (1 of 8 outside 5ft in Game) because “The Rules” are in full effect he rest of this series.

  • Max

    lol

  • bike

    Everything Pop says is calculated. He know the Heat will make adjustments, he’s already anticipating what those adjustments are, and he will counter as such.

    I’m thinking Pop’s overall strategy for the series is to keep the games close and don’t make any mistakes or turnovers come crunch time. It’s what this team excels at.

  • Max

    They won last year because each game there was somebody on fire along with Battier who couldn’t miss, this Heat team is way different from last years.
    I’m hoping this trend continues.

  • Max

    Isn’t that what every team tries to do?

  • greg

    please stop wasting oxygen on our planet…. go away and never return

  • pposse

    Right! Their small ball lineup is laughable in my opinion. I mean you have Ray Allen, Norris Cole, Mike Miller, Lebron and Joal Anthony/ Shane Battier?! When you play small ball aren’t you supposed to be faster than the other team? Am I missing something? Seriously, 3 pt shooting at best is when you make %40 of them and that shouldn’t even be expected. Even still Mike Miller and Ray Allen with any glimmer of shooting space will chuck up a three pt shot, i just think its a stupid lineup, stupid game plan. It might work, but I’ll be damned if it works on the Spurs. I think Pop smells blood in the water when they put that lineup out there.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    8/25 is 32%…..the team shoots .396%

    .

    so, nah. it isn’t standard. 9.9makes would have been standard.

  • French

    Spurs will make open threes too. Danny Green and Kawhi had 5 missed open 3′s between them in the 4th (or was it 3rd and 4th)

  • spit hot fiyah

    battier probably shouldn’t play any more, looks like he is done

  • robb

    Pop goes

  • pposse

    no i know that but %40 from 3 is ridiculous the league average is somewhere near %32. “if you live by the three, you die by the three” your a D’antoni guy so you probably don’t want to hear any of this, but these cliche’s have held up in the league.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    have they? wanna look at the last 5 years and prove that? how many of the last 5 champions have been outside the top 10 in 3pt made?

    .

    right now? the two teams in the finals are 4th and 7th in threes made. 6th and 8th in threes attempted.

  • pposse

    all im saying is that for you to expect to hit %40 of your three’s to win the championship that in imo is a horrible game plan and where Lebron James is misguided (due to his average at best coach)

  • bike

    lol. Yeah, I guess you are right. Imagine Pop telling his players this is what he has in mind for strategy and a sub pips up and asks ‘gosh coach, isn’t this what all teams try to do?’

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    San Antonio is doing the exact same thing.

  • robb

    Chris Bosh will make it rain…men

  • pposse

    i see that San Antonio is doing this and executing, i do. It was an entertaining game and both teams look to have very similar styles. However, SA has the luxury to switch up their style. Its not as necessary for SA to hit their three pt shots as it is for Miami.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh ok, you are mainly speaking on the reliance of shooting? that makes sense. Miami is much more reliant right now. That’s for sure, i agree. I don’t think they would “normally” be more reliant, but with the regression of Wade and Bosh, i totally understand what you are saying.

  • pposse

    Bosh has been one funny mofo; i seriously wonder what a coach like Pop or a Larry Brown or Rick Carlisle or Doc Rivers would say about him going out to the 3 pt line. If i was his friend i’d tell him “A. Your not Dirk. B. How in the hell are you going to get offensive rebounds if your shooting and prancing around the 3 pt line?”

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    This is on Spoelstra. He asked Bosh to move out there in order to make room for James. It’s totally ridiculous, but it isn’t on Bosh. They seem to have abandoned the pick and pop game, and moved onto living off of LeBron being double teamed. (not what I would have done as a coach).

  • pposse

    smh this team is way too Lebron-centric.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i have to agree. i mean, i’m fine with everything revolving around LeBron. But only when he is being used as a weapon, not as the end and beginning to everything. That’s what made Cleveland so easy to gameplan for.

  • Max

    Haha, Capt Jack probably would do that.

  • Sancheezie

    miami let the world down.

  • Junior Taylor

    MIA loses this series if LeBron plays with the same “get my teammates” going approach he had in Game 1. They can’t win with him scoring under 25pts. They need him to be closer to 30. The Spurs are too good of a team and Wade/Bosh are a shell of their former selves for him to take that approach.

  • Lloyd

    Your theory is that Pop’s strategy for the Spurs is, “don’t screw up”? Damn that’s foolproof

  • Lloyd

    Isn’t that Miami’s game? I mean aside from fast break points, their game is Lebron or Wade penetrating and finishing or finding open 3 pt shooters. The only thing different now is Bosh is more prone to be on the 3 pt line instead of being set to shoot that elbow jumper he’s mastered. Bottom line is if the Heat shooters don’t hit 3s, they’re not winning.

  • Lloyd

    That’s insane. Lebron can’t win this alone. The “felt like Cleveland” game is proof of that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That’s the point. They are reliant on shooting…

  • Lloyd

    Yea but that’s their game normally too, not just because of the regression of Wade.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Nah, that was the cherry on top before. The threat of it maybe? But not in them actually making 3′s. it was just a big part. Now they have to hit 3′s to win

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    so i’m hearing that LeBron was so tired that he asked to come out in the 4th last night…..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i think with the shooters…..they can pretty much win this series as long as LeBron puts up around 30 on 50+%
    .
    i mean, Golden State would have had a chance at winning their series if Steph did that…..and this is a better team.

  • Lloyd

    I don’t know about that. Wade and Bron couldn’t win those games just by attacking the basket. They needed good performances from a couple other guys, or a great performance by one. All their role players, save Cole and Chalmers at times, are just spot up shooters. Out of all those, everyone is a 3 pt shooter mainly (only exception being Haslem). Outside of Lebron and Wade’s penetration/fast break points, they always needed to hit 3s to win.

  • The Fury

    Well what I think about this is Pop will let Lebron do his triple double thing instead of scoring 30 pts.

  • Lloyd

    That’s not Lebron winning it alone though. And that’s a huge amount of pressure to put on one guy, especially if said shooters aren’t hitting with consistency.

    They need Wade or Bosh to have big plays, and the shooters to hit timely 3s.

  • dj newmoney

    Spoelstra took out James and Wade in the 4th and the game changed

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    they were 20th in 3pt made last season. 23rd in attempts.
    .
    they hit 8 threes in game 1 of the finals last year, (lost by 11)
    they hit 6 threes in game 2 of the finals last year. (won by 4)
    they hit 4 threes in game 3 of the finals last year. (won by 6)
    they hit 10 threes in game 4 of the finals last year. (won by 6)
    they hit 14 threes in game 5 of the finals last year. (won by 15)

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LOL, i don’t think you are increasing the pressure on LeBron no matter what. he’s being judged the same about this either way.

    .

    they don’t have to hit with consistency. they have to hit 3′s punctually. keep the defense honest.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    LeBron asked to come out.
    .
    Spoelstra wasn’t prepared for that.

  • Lloyd

    3rd or 4th this year though no? And doesn’t have to be makes. They had guys make timely 3s. I hated watching the Heat for that reason. Their shooters were “right place, right time” kind of guys. It was annoying.

    This year they’ve gotten a lot better and more reliant on the 3 all around.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    and that’s the whole point.

  • Lloyd

    The onus of offense is on Lebron’s shoulders alone right now. If they keep getting the ball out of his hands, other guys have to make shots. If they’re not, checkmate, the Spurs are taking the series. It’s too much pressure for Lebron to try and take on the scoring alone.

    Also, Lebron faces more defensive pressure now too. The Spurs will live with the shooters making a couple of shots, but these guys don’t seem capable of hitting consistently enough for the Spurs to take their pressure off Lebron to adapt to their makes

  • Lloyd

    Yea so that’s always been one of the major parts of their offense this season, not just because Wade has been regressing after the all star break. This is their “normal”.

  • Lloyd

    I love a good Bosh joke as much as the next guy, but me and the next guy both agree that this was just incoherent garbage.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Wade was great this year but he wasn’t the overwhelming force he was in the past. I did only say since he started to regress. I never said anything about the all star break. He started the season rather slow as well, if you don’t remember.

  • Lloyd

    Because he wasn’t as explosive? Dude was still shooting a career best from the field to start the year. After the knee injury, he just hasn’t been the same.

    Regardless of how they got there, the Heat ain’t winning anything unless they’re hitting the 3 now. Pretty sad.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    He started the season slow. And FG% doesn’t imply explosiveness. He’s still great. He’s still explosive. But he hasn’t been the same guy.

  • Junior Taylor

    Correct…..having to do everything (rebounding, defending and playmaking) tends to wear on you.

  • Junior Taylor

    The pressure then falls on Spo to get LeBron off the ball and move him around therefore making it that much harder for the Spurs to load up on him.

  • JPlattim1933

    Because he wasn’t as explosive? Dude was still shooting a career best
    from the field to start the year. After the knee injury, he just hasn’t
    been the same.­ ­http://mybestfriendmakes65dollarsper&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

  • Lloyd

    Miami’s at it’s best when Lebron has the ball and is getting into the paint and either finishing or making plays. And regardless, if he plays off the ball, the Spurs will just double him on the catch. Doesn’t change the fact that other guys need to score for Miami to have a chance.

  • pposse

    the midrange game is so underrated nowadays…

  • JL

    He either wants to force him into bad shots, or make him pass and his teammates shoot bad shots (without fouling). Simple to say, no other team has truly done it so far this year through the playoffs. Except for the Pacers, but not in game 7.

  • JL

    That’s what the Heat averaged over the season. I know it wasn’t the playoffs, but they are capable.

  • JL

    And that proves the point that you need a little luck with all that hard work to win the chip.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Not me. But I understand, normal humans.

  • Noompsi

    brilliant. comment of the finals thus far

  • Noompsi

    I got a question. When an NBA team is striving to get a 50% record, they say so and SO is this many games off 500. Why the 500? Don’t they m,ena 50% record? Why not 50%. i don;t get it. Can someone illuminate, and if it’s NBK can you be a little less grandiose. I really respect yr opinion, you are a scholar of the game. I only have three words for you. Viva La Difference. It’s all our opinions 9even Lakeshow gets moments of clarity, even Shock). So please, keep us infoprmed with articulate legible well presented material, just let us make up our own minds…
    PEACE

  • Noompsi

    LeBron may well be the best ever catalyst for good things in the game. Maybe that’s his niche, Mr everyman. But give me players who know their roles and excel at them.best Shooter, best scorers, defenders. LBJ is great at all those but not the best. Wade better crossover and finisher. Durant better J. Westbrook, more explosive. Rondo more heart.
    SAS Trust their team mates so if the stay with their big guys the defence rotates and the d is flashing, pushing, trapping, slashing! Personally, playoffs favour Pop historically.. He’s the wiliest coach on the fly- which Spoelstra, though v underrated is too: just not to Pop levels. SAS have plays for every out of bounds, evry timeout, every time Miami shows some fortitude. They can mix it up, inside and out, confuse the heat,break uo ther flow, which Miami hates. Front James randomly, double on occasion. Miami may well knock down some more open shots. But SAS is gonna make them earn em. And really, what can Miami do to stifle Parker? SAS have four guys capable of bringing it up, Yes even v Miami. Watch for Patty Mills to give 5 mins of offense in one of the games. I’ve seen that kids go off offensively. Did you see the Olympics this year, Dude had highest scored out of all Basketball players in London, 39 I believe, includint hte buzzer beating three. People are all saying Miami can’t play that bad again, but neither can SAS, Sure, they won, but out boarded won’t happen again, mark my words. TD wont go through droughts for long, and can make Bosh look like the liability he is (and when Miami loses i get the feeling Wade and Bosh might have some soul searching). Wade is in decline, like Ginobli’s and LBJ’s hair. If they scrape by, they know they cant do it again with he roster they have. The West this year is the weakest it’s been in years because of injury post season but fundamental ball takes wins from hero ballers (most of the time) Not always, but when the moon is right and the planets align, true team non-superstar balls shows through in there end a Naismith the Enforcer looks down from the heavens and smiles.. Detroit did to LAL in 04, Dallas to the Heat in 12. Inshallah may it happen again!
    Q

  • Noompsi

    here here

  • shutup

    With the decimal place its 3 spaces so thats why they say .500. 50% is really .500 is really 1/2 its all the same mathematically.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange agrees. The problem is that there are a lot of people commenting and writing about the game not because of any knowlege or passion, but because of the accoutrements from being associated with the NBA.

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