Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, LeBron James and Chris Bosh have not been on the same page at the same time in the first two games of the playoffs. That needs to change in order to get 1 step closer to achieving the true objective for the series against the Bucks.
The objective for the Miami HEAT isn't to just beat the Bucks and advance to the Eastern Conference Semis. The HEAT are too good for that. They should still be favored to beat the Bucks if Wade and LeBron were injured.
The objective for the HEAT isn't to just sweep the Bucks. The HEAT are too dominant for that. Nearly everyone except Brandon Jennings picked them to sweep the Bucks.
The objective for the HEAT is to CRUSH the Bucks in a fashion that lets everyone know they are marching towards history - 16-0.
Internal expectations for the HEAT when this team was put together were to be a dynasty winning #Not5Not6Not7 championships. External expectations were for the team to break not 1, not 2, not 3, but MANY NBA records and enter the debate for greatest team of all-time.
In order for the HEAT to establish their dominance over the Bucks, their backcourt and frontcourt stars need to align. LeBron and Bosh dominated Game 1 while Wade and Chalmers were outplayed by Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Game 2 was just the opposite. Wade and Chalmers dominated while LeBron and Bosh were outplayed by Mike Dunleavy and Ersan Ilysasova.
Most Productive HEAT Players in Game 2
Chalmers was the most productive HEAT player in Game 2 thanks to efficient offense and defense in the HEAT's scheme that shutdown Jennings. Rio scored 9 points on 75% shooting efficiency with 2 assists and just 1 turnover on offense with 2 steals, 1 block, 3 defensive rebounds and 2 fouls on defense while helping the HEAT hold Jennings to 20% shooting efficiency. The end result was that Chalmers was nearly 5 times as productive as the average player in the game by producing 0.489 est. wins per 48 minutes (est.WP48) while Jennings was the least productive player in the game with -0.111 est.WP48.
Wade was the 2nd most productive HEAT player in Game 2 thanks to 21 points with 57% shooting efficiency, 2 offensive rebounds, 3 assists and 3 turnovers on offense with 2 steals, 5 defensive rebounds and just 1 foul on defense while helping the HEAT hold Ellis to just 7 points with 29% shooting efficiency and 4 turnovers. Wade was nearly 4 times as productive as the average player in the game by producing 0.385 est.WP48 while Ellis only produced 0.021 est.WP48.
The story for LeBron and Bosh was different.
Most Productive Bucks Players in Game 2
Dunleavy was the most productive Bucks player in Game 2 with 0.579 est.WP48 produced from 16 points with 78% shooting efficiency, 5 assists with 0 turnovers, 6 defensive rebounds and 2 steals with just 2 fouls.
While Dunleavy shot the lights out, LeBron struggled to score 19 points with just 43% shooting efficiency, 6 assists and 4 turnovers with 0 blocks, 1 steal and 2 fouls for a well-below average 0.017 est.WP48.
Ilyasova was the second-most productive Bucks player in Game 2 with 0.228 est.WP48 produced from 21 points with 71% shooting efficiency, 3 offensive rebounds, 1 assist and 0 turnovers.
Bosh and Ilyasova both took half their shots from outside the paint, but the HEAT big man only made 1 of his jumpers while the Bucks power forward knocked down 4 of 7. The result was that Bosh only scored 10 points with 45% shooting efficiency, 0 offensive rebounds, 1 assist and 2 turnovers on offense, and 0 blocks, 1 steal and 2 fouls on defense.
The spreadsheet below lists all the wins produced stats estimated from the boxscore for Game 2.
Game 3 Thoughts
The HEAT managed to beat the Bucks by double digits in Games 1 and 2 with only half of their attack playing dominant basketball. They'll need to form those two halves into a whole to dominate the Bucks in Milwaukee.
The game is a home-coming for Wade, so he'll have plenty motivation to perform well despite his knee injury. I didn't like Wade coasting through the 1st half of Game 2, but I don't want to see him go too hard to win his battle with Ellis and take himself out of his game.
LeBron should bounce back fine in Game 3. He usually performs well in Milwaukee, but those big performances don't always result in a win.
Chalmers will be tested by Jennings, who will be amped to back up his series prediction in front of the home crowd. Rio will need to keep his head on defense and stay away from committing dumb fouls when the trash talking starts. It would benefit the HEAT if Jennings comes out firing and Chalmers is inspired to attack him on defense.
Bosh needs to establish the jumpshot for the HEAT offense to be successful, but I want to see him find other ways to be productive if it's not falling. He can't take himself out the game just because the J isn't swishing. HEAT need him to make an impact in other ways if the backcourt and frontcourt are going to form like Voltron and dominate the Bucks in Game 3.