The Miami Heat are not used to having to come from behind this year, making it all the more important that they even the series with the San Antonio Spurs as soon as they can. Game two is the next chance for the Miami Heat to erase their deficit, and they must win in order to keep themselves out of uncharted territory.
For just the second time in the post season this year, the Miami Heat are trailing in a series. After opening the playoffs with an easy four game sweep over the hapless Milwaukee Bucks, they lost game one to the Chicago Bulls. Shrugging off the one game hiccup, they flexed their muscles by winning the next four games to win the series. Last round they traded games with the Indiana Pacers, but never were behind in the series on their way to the NBA Finals.
Now once again facing a deficit, they hope to rally back and capture a second consecutive NBA title. There are some chinks in the armor of the Heat team that was viewed as unbeatable and a step above the rest of the competition in the National Basketball Association. The Indiana Pacers proved that the Heat were not invincible, taking them to the brink of elimination before a game seven rout.
Recently Lebron James has to feel like he is back in Cleveland. Almost a one man show thanks to the recent struggles of his teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, among others, he has had to put the team on his back and will them to victory. Chris Bosh actually apologized to his teammates for his poor play last week, how often do you hear of an athlete doing that?
Recognizing the importance of tonight’s game, the struggling Wade said “We’re not a team that really says too much, ‘This is a must-win game,’ but this is a must-win game” in his interview with the LA Times today. Odds aren’t in the Heat’s favor should they drop this game. Teams down 2-0 in the NBA Finals have only come back to win in 3 of 31 chances. One of the teams to do so was the 2006 Heat, which Wade was a part of.
In order to avoid another loss and earn their must win victory, the Miami Heat must play better in the fourth quarter. After leading the league in fourth quarter field goal percentage during the regular season, the Heat have gone cold in the final period lately. Over their last seven games, they have failed to score 25 points in the final period each time. Wade has only averaged 2.3 points per game in the fourth quarter this post season.
The San Antonio Spurs have looked like the juggernaut so far this post season. They have lost just two games in three series so far. Sweeping opponents in the first and third rounds, they have been able to keep their veteran roster well rested and ready for any challenge so far.
Led by their own big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli this team was able to beat the Heat in game one in Miami thanks to an off balance jumper by Tony Parker with just 5.2 seconds left in regulation. If the Spurs can carry their momentum into game two, the Spurs could put a great deal of pressure on their opponent.
So game two is a must win for the Miami Heat, falling down two games is a hole that almost no team can dig out of. They may not be the unbeatable juggernaut the world thought they were, but they still have to show that they can rally from behind and respond to adversity if they want to become back to back NBA champions.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express