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Heat’s Spoelstra To Coach Eastern Conference All Stars

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(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Heat In Must-Win Situation In Game 2
CHICAGO (CBSMiami.com) – Forty-eight hours after getting beaten like the end of a ketchup bottle, the Miami Heat are in a must-win situation in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls. The Heat’s Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh ended up being the Big 1 and Wade and LeBron. Chris Bosh played well shooting 67 percent from the field, 100 percent from the free throw line and finishing with 30 points and 9 rebounds. But the bigger story for Heat fans was the abysmal play of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Game 1. Wade and James shot a combined 12 for 29 for the field and scored 33 points. As anyone who watched the game can attest, that’s simply not going to cut it. It does reveal the Bulls’ game plan for dealing with the Big Three. The Bulls are more than happy to let Bosh score 30-40 a game as long as LeBron and Wade don’t get in a rhythm. But, the Bulls are not an unbeatable team by any stretch of the imagination. The Bulls got a combined 35 points from Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. Plus, the Bulls dominated on the offensive boards by grabbing 19 to the Heat’s 6. Essentially, the Bulls played the best they possibly could in Game 1 and the Heat played as poorly as they possibly could. The Bulls’ defense was great in Game 1, but now comes the hard part for the Bulls. The Heat is humiliated, angry, and now sees the Bulls’ game plan. The team will have spent three days practicing and watching film to find new ways to attack.
But the Heat needs to have a better plan with their rotation of players. While it’s a given that Joel Anthony, James Jones, and Mario Chalmers will get solid minutes; the Heat need to decide if they want to throw another big man at the Bulls. The Heat can’t count on Udonis Haslem giving them any more than 5-10 minutes a game and he’s still not in good enough shape to really make a big difference. So, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to decide if starting Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Jamaal Magloire will help out by bringing Joel Anthony off the bench as a sparkplug to the team. But the biggest hurdle for the Heat is quite simple. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have to play better. It’s not just about scoring either. Both players have to play better on the defensive end and in transition for the Heat to have any chance of winning. The Heat also absolutely have to crash the boards, even if it does slow down the team’s transition game and cut down on fast break points. If the Heat can cut down on the Bulls’ second-chance points, the game will be completely different in Game 2. In addition, the Heat has to rotate to the ball faster on the defensive end of the floor. It will probably mean less double-teams can be utilized, but the team has to keep a hand in Deng and Boozer’s face throughout the game or run the risk of both of them killing the Heat again. Still, LeBron and D-Wade are not going to play that poorly in back-to-back games. If both players show up ready to play in Game 2, then it should be a strikingly different game in Game 2. And, if the Heat can walk out of Chicago with a victory in Game 2 and bring the series back to Miami tied at one game apiece; then the Heat are in the driver’s seat. On the flip side, if the Bulls take a 2-0 lead in the series after Game 2, then the Heat is in deep trouble and will face very long odds of making it past the Eastern Conference Finals.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has been named head coach of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team.

This marks Spoelstra’s first appearance as head coach and the second time a Heat head coach has earned the honor. Spoelstra was previously on former Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy’s staff whose team won the 2005 NBA All-Star Game.

Spoelstra, in his fifth season as Miami’s head coach, has led the Heat to an Eastern Conference best 30-14 (.682) record this season. His offense is shooting 49 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from three-point range, both franchise highs. He capped off January with an 8-5 (.615) record, a franchise-best 18th consecutive winning month.

Additionally, Miami has posted a 76-19 record (.800) at home since the 2010-11 season, the second-highest home winning percentage in the NBA over that span. His .629 (224-132) career winning percentage is the highest in franchise history and his 224 career wins are the second-most in team history.

Spoelstra, a three-time NBA Coach of the Month, has appeared in postseason play in each of his first four seasons while capturing two division titles, two conference championships and an NBA title. His 34 playoff victories and .607 (34-22) postseason winning percentage both tie the franchise highs. His .793 (23-6) postseason home winning percentage is the best among active head coaches and ranks sixth all-time among NBA coaches (minimum 25 games).

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Sunday, February 17, 2013.

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