MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – For the first time in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat finally found out what it was like to be on the losing end of a fourth-quarter collapse. The Heat gave up a 22-5 run to end Game 2 with a loss and now has to rebound quickly to regain momentum for Game 3.
Of course that will be much easier said than done with the series heading to Dallas. But when the Miami Heat looks at who to blame for the epic collapse in Game 2, it’s the entire team.
The Heat jumped to a 15 point lead with about 5:50 to go in the fourth quarter and essentially went into a prevent defense, to use a football term. And as any football fan can tell you, all a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.
Miami began settling for jump shots, especially long jump shots that allowed the Mavs to quickly get into transition and prevent the Heat from setting up their half-court defense.
And then there was the head-scratching decision from Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to allow Chris Bosh to guard Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki on the final play. Bosh was abused by Nowitzki and no one rotated around for help-defense and Dirk made an easy layup to seal the victory.
It was essentially a case of the moment being too big for all of the Heat’s players. From the Big Three to the head coach, everyone on the Heat had to shoulder some of the blame for the epic collapse in Game 2.
Now, the Heat has to try and figure out how to stop Dallas on the road. The Mavericks proved to the Heat that they are in the Heat’s class and can out-muscle the Heat on a given night. It’s easy to put the loss all on the Heat, but the Mavs deserve credit for finding the Heat’s weakness and exploiting it.
Essentially, the Mavs let the Heat get into what some have dubbed, “hero ball,” and try to win the game one-on-one. It’s been the Heat’s Achilles heel all season and until Game 2, it had been kept under wraps in the playoffs.
Now, the Heat has to get back to playing Heat basketball. They have to get back to playing stifling defense for 48 minutes and running an offense. But perhaps most importantly, they have to find out what’s bothering Chris Bosh.
The mercurial Bosh has shot 9 for 34, or 26 percent, in the NBA Finals and has given credence to those who say he’s not up to the challenge of coming up big on the grandest stage. Bosh has to get his game back on track for the Heat to be able to win an NBA title.
Plus, the Heat has to hit the glass harder. They were outrebounded 41-30 in Game 2 and have struggled to win games when they are outrebounded by that large of a margin. They don’t have to win the rebounding war, but they have to keep it close.
And finally, when the Heat gets to the free throw line; they have to convert. The Heat left 8 points on the floor last night, which even given Dallas leaving 4 on the floor at the line last night, would have been enough for the Heat to win.
Game 2 is Sunday in Dallas.