2014 NBA Finals Game 3 Preview
After an explosive opening 2 games to this series, the scene shifts to Miami for the next 2 games. Despite being 1-1, it feels like the Heat are in total control, but they’re not. This series is on a knife’s edge, and it could easily go either way. LeBron responded very well to the criticism in game 1 and produced a classic performance, but let’s not forget the role Chris Bosh has played in both games (especially with his defence on Duncan [just like in game 7 of last year’s finals]). Miami has the momentum, but not control of the series. Not yet.
So what’s going to happen, Einstein?
I hate to say this, but San Antonio appears afraid of LeBron. They need to make some defensive adjustments and react to LeBron a bit more. They cannot allow him to get to the basket whenever he wants, so they absolutely have to throw a second defender at him the moment he puts the ball on the floor and makes his move. The problem is, I don’t think they’ll make that adjustment in game 3. Miami has dictated the pace, but hasn’t dominated. This is a bad thing for the Spurs as they feel they are right within striking distance. This game could end in a pretty big blowout for the Heat if we don’t see those changes.
The flip side to that is despite Duncan, Parker and Leonard all struggling, San Antonio were 90 seconds away from being up 2-0. If they can get some better offensive production out of Parker and Duncan, and Leonard can stay on the floor, they’ll be fine. But they can’t allow themselves to think that it’s all they need to do. Slowing down James is critical for the entire series. The good thing for them is James is an enigma. Sure, he’s a great, great player. But we still don’t know what to expect from him. Even in last year’s finals, all the way up to the 4th quarter of game 6, he looked like a decoy. He’s never been truly dominant of a big series for the entire series (outside of the 2012 finals).
God dammit, just give us the answer!
Miami will grab this game, and don’t be surprised if it’s a blowout. But San Antonio will get game 4, and then anything will happen. A few things to remember: Miami is 6-0 at home in the finals when they don’t have home court advantage in the series (06 and 2012), and San Antonio has been able to win massive games on the road these playoffs (Game 4 vs Dallas when down 2-1, game 3 against Portland and game 6 against Oklahoma). I hope I’m wrong about the blowout prediction, because I love how close the series has been so far. It will also be interesting to see how San Antonio responds to having to win a game in Miami now especially after what in the last 2 games of the finals last year. Everyone better hold on tight, because it’s about to get crazy.