Miami Heat Roll Into Boston For Decisive Game 6: It’s Put Up or Shut Up Time

I wanted to write a recap for Game 5. Honestly, I really did.

I could have listed the infinite number of problems that led to them losing the most significant game of the year, but I just couldn’t bring myself to it. It wasn’t because I’d feel like garbage writing how my team can’t consistently execute down the stretch on either side of the ball, but because I’d be allowing my emotions to dictate how the article would flow.

Nobody wanted to read this:

“…and Chris Bosh played in only four minutes in the second half because ERIK SPOELSTRA IS A COCKMUNCH AHHHHHHADIGJ AGJ;AGKAGKAGAGAG.”

See, nobody wants to read that. I couldn’t allow myself to write when I was still seething over the Game 5 loss and I still can’t now because I’m still disgusted with the way the Heat lost that game. As much as I’d like to get into the negatives that completely ruined a 13-point lead and made my dislike for the Heat’s role players grow even more, it would be much more suitable to just move on.

Before moving on, I’d just like to point out that Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem combined for a stellar nine points on 4-of-12 shooting, including 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. If you throw in Mario Chalmers into this argument, then four key Heat role players combined for 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including 2-of-11 shooting from deep.

It’s really an insult on how every single game falls onto LeBron James because he couldn’t do anything more than record 30 points and 13 rebounds, while holding Paul Pierce to 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Yet the only thing we’ll hear about isn’t how disgustingly awful James’ teammates are, but rather how Pierce made a huge shot in his face.

Just like in Cleveland, maybe we should hold someone else accountable for these Heat losses. Dwyane Wade certainly hasn’t helped with his slow starts and the four aforementioned role players have been useless on the offensive end. They’ve contributed little to nothing–with the exception of Chalmers–on offense and it’s killing the offense.

Boston is giving up wide-open jumpers to Miller, Battier, Haslem and Chalmers every single game since they’re throwing multiple defenders at either James or Wade. Even though this happens, those two only combine for five assists in Game 5 because of the awful shooting prowess of their teammates.

It’s demoralizing to LeBron and Dwyane when seeing their pinpointed passes in the hands of a wide-open shooter end up clanging off the rim and leading to a wide-open made jumper by the opposition, and yes, that happened many teams in Game 5.

It’s tough to get no support and just imagine if Bosh didn’t show up and throw in nine points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes.

However, it’s time to move on and look onto Game 6. The Heat will be traveling to the extremely unfriendly confines of Boston in hopes that they can steal a road victory and then go back home to win Game 7. It’s an extremely difficult task, especially with the way Boston has been playing, but if any team is capable of doing it, it’s the Heat.

This team is better than what we’ve seen the past three games. They’re better than sub-70 percent shooting as a team from the foul line; better than allowing one 35-year-old defender to dictate how they run an offense; better than giving up 29 fourth quarter points to a Celtics team that didn’t even have an offense two weeks ago.

In every game, you just get the feel that the contest is going the way Boston plans it. They’re the ones running the show and deciding when every Heat run should start and stop. They’re making their shots in the fourth, while continuing to force the Heat into either contested jumpers from Wade or James or wide-open jumpers from the role players.

Mario Chalmers had a wide-open three-pointer near the end of Game 5 that would have tied it with less than a minute remaining. As his incredible statline will tell you, he missed.

The one thing I’ve truly noticed in this series is how difficult each point comes for Miami and how easy some points come for Boston. The Celtics use physicality and pressure on whichever player has the ball. Before the ball is out of your hands, you will end up taking at least one hit that’s sent as a reminder for the next series.

Yet you see the Celtics play offense and the Heat are giving them room to operate. Kevin Garnett is getting position, Rajon Rondo has 10 feet of space and Paul Pierce is taking LeBron James off-the-dribble like he’s 27. It’s incredible to watch, but the Celtics make offense seem way too easy against what is supposed to be a vaunted Heat defense.

It’s not just having Rondo, either. It’s the Heat not matching Boston’s physical defense. Miami isn’t attempting to send messages to the Celtics or making them work for their points. Many of the Celtics points are coming off open jumpers or right near the basket, which also occurs as a result of the Heat’s excessive and frantic rotations.

Game 7 is put up or shut up time for the Heat. Plan and simple, it’s either win or go home and I doubt this Heat team wants to go home, even though they sure haven’t appeared to act like they want to win. Still, I think a Game 6 victory sounds a whole lot better than going home and getting scrutinized and critiqued for another year.

It seems simple, but it’s my honest belief that the Heat can win the next two if they play smart, fundamental basketball. Make your free throws to always give yourself an edge, avoid making risky passes, stay on your assignment, MAKE YOUR JUMPERS and just play basketball the way you want it to be played by running on offense and creating pressure on defense.

A big key to winning this game for the Heat is attempting to run and getting quick baskets. After every made Boston shot, the Heat should be attempting to push the tempo and getting an easy basket within five seconds on the other end. If Miami wants to win, they need to make their opponent tired and in foul trouble, specifically Kevin Garnett who has just killed this team throughout the series.

Miami has proven to be significantly better whenever Garnett isn’t on the court. In fact, Garnett was essentially the main reason why Boston even had a chance in Game 5. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce had horrific shooting performances combining for 39 points on 11-of-43 shooting, yet it was Garnett, Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus supporting the Celtics.

How does that trio end up defeating Dwyane Wade and LeBron James? Smart basketball on both ends of the floor. Nothing risky from anyone on the Celtics; just a few fortunate bounces their way, making the shots they should be making and playing the game how it should be played.

Within the next 12 hours we’ll know what the Heat are made of. Expect a larger role for Chris Bosh, which may just be the spark the Heat need. His seven rebounds–six on offense-were a huge spark for the team during LeBron’s time on the bench, as well as his nine points coming off easy scores near the basket and free throws.

Perhaps with Bosh back in the game, the Heat can finally get things going. Or they could lay down and die when the going gets tough as they’ve done the previous three games. It’s all on them whether or not they want to win this game because they are a significantly better team than Boston.

If they made free throws and their open jumpers, this series is done with a 4-1 advantage for the Heat. Alas, fundamentals aren’t a characteristic of this team and it hurts. Smart basketball is what needs to be played against a team like Boston, because they’re one of the smartest in basketball and will take advantage of a team with a low basketball IQ.

LeBron should be motivated to compete just for the simple fact that Kevin Durant will get a ring before he does if Boston ends up making the Finals. That’s something LeBron doesn’t want to live with–even more pressure. If the rising 23-year-old up-and-coming small forward has a ring and LeBron doesn’t, it means talk of usurping the throne will be in place.

Like I said, however, this game, and the series, all comes down to who wants it more. If the Heat are willing to dive for loose balls, make an effort to get Boston off the offensive boards and make an even larger effort to get the offense working inside, then they’ll probably end up winning this game with ease.

It really shouldn’t take much for the Heat to beat Boston; they’re just doing all the small, asinine things to allow the Celtics to stay in and eventually win the past three games.

Fundamentals and smart play will win this series. The Heat can save using their athleticism and cockiness for another series.

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