Heat Know What Must Improve To Extend Season

Credit San Antonio — they do not back down. All season long Miami would crank up its defense, make its big runs and the opponent would wilt. The Spurs withstood the Heat’s big run in Game 5 — when the lead was down to 1 late in the third San Antonio responded with a 19-1 run of their own. They withstood other runs all night long. It was impressive.

Still, the Heat looked back at Game 5 and said there were a lot of areas they could be just a little bit better, and if they had the game would have been different.

And they know those things have to change for Game 6.

“The most important game is Game 6,” LeBron James said. “We can’t worry about a Game 7. We have to worry about Game 6 and going back home, being confident about our game, being confident about getting a win, which we are.”

Two key areas have to change.

Defense is the first key. The Spurs shot 60 percent in Game 5. Tony Parker got into the paint at will, as well as Manu Ginobili, and the Spurs moved the ball for wide open threes. Miami also got stuck in more isolation plays that didn’t go well for them.

“At times they were just picking one guy out at a time and going mano y mano. That will change.” Says Heat coach Erik Spolestra.

Chris Bosh also had a task on his hands in trying to protect the rim and minimize the production of Tim Duncan.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that we didn’t give that same defensive effort that we had in Game 4 and they picked us apart,” Bosh said.

Another key for Miami to win Game 6 is offensive execution; they have to make their shots. Of the 29 shots the Heat took in the restricted area in Game 5 they only made 15. That’s just barely over 50 percent.

“I think that’s where it starts for us, honestly,” James said. “Getting into the paint. I think between the two of us, we probably missed 12-lay-ups tonight. Transition lay-ups that we usually convert. I missed a lob. I missed two lay-ups.”

The offensive struggles for Miami didn’t stop in the restricted area as they went 5-of-14 in the non-restricted area of the paint and 6-of-20 on midrange jumpers. Surely the Spurs were very active on defense but that was not a characteristic offensive performance for Miami. However it has to happen, if Miami wants to keep their chance at a championship alive they must get those shots to fall.

Source: Kurt Helin, NBC Sports