Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 NBA Finals: Which Game 2 Adjustments Will Carry Over to Game 3?

Mario Chalmers attacking off the pick-and-roll with LeBron James was the biggest adjustment on offense for the Miami HEAT in Game 2. The biggest improvement on defense came in the post against Tim Duncan.

This Game 1 recap identified 4 key adjustments the Miami HEAT could make in Game 2 based on stats from mysynergysports.com. This post analyzes how they did in those 4 areas.

Offensive Adjustments from Game 1
Chris Bosh:
  • Finishing off the pick-and-roll in the paint? Bosh didn't roll to the paint off picks in Game 2. He popped out for jumpers on 3 pick-and-rolls and made 2 of them.
  • Getting some baseline cuts like the Birdman? Wade fed him for a dunk after a baseline cut in the 1st quarter.

LeBron James: More opportunities in transition? LeBron scored 6 points from 4 opportunities in transition (his season averages) which was an improvement from the 2 points on 2 plays in transition he got in Game 1.

Dwyane Wade: Replacing his isolation offense? Mario Chalmers averages 2 points on 2 pick-and-rolls per game this season, but he scored 10 points on 8 pick-and-rolls in Game 2 after scoring just 2 points on 4 pick-and-rolls in Game 1. That was more than enough to replace the lost scoring from Wade's isos.

Defensive Adjustments from Game 1
Better job guarding Spot ups? The Spurs scored 29 points on 24 spot ups in Game 2 after scoring 34 points on 30 spot ups in Game 1. They average 23 points on 22 spot ups this season.

Better post defense on Tim Duncan? Duncan only scored 3 points on 7 post ups in Game 2 against Udonis Haslem (0-3), Bosh (2 points on 2 plays) and Birdman (1 point on 2 plays) after scoring 8 points on 5 post ups in Game 1. The HEAT reduced the most efficient post up offense in the NBA this season to playing like the 13th-ranked post up offense in Game 2.

What to Expect in Game 3?
I would expect LeBron to continue to be a force in transition and reach his season averages. The pick-and-pop and baseline cuts will always be there for Bosh. I would be surprised if the Spurs continue to allow Chalmers to dominate them in the pick-and-roll like he did in Game 2 after struggling in Game 1.

On defense, I expect the Spurs to continue scoring off spot-ups at a rate that would rank 1st in the NBA. It seems like the HEAT are conceding those shots to them. I expect the defense in the post to be as tough as it was in Game 2, but it will be interesting to see if Duncan responds with a hall-of-fame scoring effort or continues to struggle.

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