Game 3 featured a much more active Miami defense — the quick rotations we’re normally accustomed to seeing. Parker had a miserable game by my standards and I expect a slight rebound performance, specifically in taking better care of the basketball. However, Miami is going to give Parker a ton of looks with Chalmers, Cole, Wade, and Lebron all guarding him at some point. Ginobli has also struggled this series against D Wade. He will play better at home with more play calls for him at the top of the key. The biggest advantage for the Spurs in this series is their ability to run multiple pick and rolls and get switches. Ginobli or Parker need to get Bosh on the switch and take advantage of him. He is by far the weakest defender on the Heat.
Danny Green has done an okay job on D Wade thus far in the series but I expect him to be a huge factor on the road these next three games. We all know that in road games, the Heat are going to have to rely heavily on the big 3 + ray allen. Chalmers has road experience as well and played very good in game 4 I believe against Dallas two years ago. But overall, in the pressure situations in the 4th quarter, expect the big 3 of the Heat + Allen to try and take over this game.
I’m looking for Norris Cole to be a bit more aggressive here if Chalmers struggles at all. Parker is one of the best defenders at the pg position but he has not looked that sharp on the defensive end to start this series, and that partially has a lot to do with what the Spurs are doing to limit Lebron James. They are guarding him straight up with Leonard, but notice how both Duncan/Splitter and Parker at times are hanging out on the elbows, basically packing in the paint. Partially why Chalmers had the game he did. If you watch the film, you’ll see that Lebron was very successful when getting the ball in the post at the elbow the most (more so in the low post).
The elbow post forces an almost immediate double and gives Lebron the ability to see the entire floor. Doubling at the elbow is possibly the worst place to double on the entire court, and as good as Pop is at making adjustments, I just don’t envision him not doubling Lebron there. If the Heat get him the ball in that spot, I see them winning this game without a doubt.
Defensively, Lebron has been below average. He gave up another 8 offensive rebounds to Leonard in game 2. Pitiful. The Heat are not going to win this game if they don’t crash the boards. Expect more effort from James.
**Also note how in game 2, Lebron did virtually nothing during the first half and let Wade kind of control the game. You might see a similar recipe tonight, with Wade getting the majority of the touches early on and Lebron kind of saving himself for that 4th quarter run. Guess it all depends on Wade’s knees.
Bosh has still not gotten to the basket and I guess we’ll see him just taking that midrange jumper all series. He is open everytime off Lebron and Wade dishes so it’s tough to knock him for taking that shot. It’s gonna be there all series and expect another 15 pt or so effort from Bosh tonight with a solid 8 boards.
Duncan was terrible in game 2. Taking a ton of fadeaways and drifting further and further away from the low post. I expect Duncan to get the ball in the post tonight and not the high post. He has a significant advantage over any Miami big, especially Bosh, who is a weakling in the post. Haslem is Miami’s most consistent post defender but doesn’t have the height to guard a Duncan hook shot. Expect Bosh Haslem and Birdman to all see time on Duncan but I am expecting a solid performance from Timmy. an 18 pt 12 board effort.
Spurs role players are going to have to come up big in this game. Neil has gotten some open looks as has Green who’s been playing great. I don’t expect Green to continue to play the way he has. Wade is going under a lot of screens and you can’t do that with sharp shooters. Simple adjustment there.
The Spurs are getting nothing out of their 5 position. Splitter has been a ghost this series, Blaire doesn’t play and neither does Bonner. Boris Diaw is scared to shoot the ball. He’s a passer, that’s all. I actually laughed to myself when Pop put Diaw on James in game 1 because I predicted he would do that, til after 1 play he quickly realized that he made a huge mistake.
There is no one to guard James in this series except Leonard and Green. If Leonard gets in foul trouble the Spurs are in HUGE trouble. That leaves Green on James and forces Ginobli/Neil to guard Wade. Easier matchups for both guys.
Ray Allen has been open on nearly all his 3s in this series. I expect Pop to make an adjustment there. Allen’s guy cannot come off his body at any time. Allen has also done a decent job guarding Ginobli in this series at times. I expect that to continue tonight. Battier has not really had his moment in this series but if the Spurs go small, which they might have to considering they are getting nothing out of their 5 spot, shifting Leonard to the 4, Timmy to the 5, Ginobli/Neil Green and Parker, Battier will get his opportunity.
Expect a 20+ point effort tonight from Wade and for both he James and possible Ray Allen to take over in the 4th quarter of this ball game. The Spurs are an excellent 4th quarter team. Lebron James cannot, and I repeat, cannot guard Tony Parker. Parker is way too crafty, way too agile. Pisses me off when people say Bron can guard anyone because he has no chance against Parker in pick and rolls. The thing for Miami is they just have to attack the pick and roll defensively. They have to charge it with the big and cut Parker off aggressively. You can’t be passive against him and keep switching. Lebron has to fight through those screens and that’s going to have to be key in the 4th quarter tonight.
I expect this game to come down to the wire.