NBA Finals notes: Heat know defensive effort must improve
JUN 10, 2014 12:00p ET
MIAMI -- Numbers can be deceiving.
At least that is what Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra thought about his team's defense in the final quarter of Game 2.
After allowing 35 points to the Spurs in the third quarter, the Heat limited them to just 18 in the fourth.
Tim Duncan? Zero.
''Sometimes it's make or miss,'' Spoelstra said. ''We didn't defend (Duncan) at the free-throw line. They were getting actions that got him to the line. They missed a couple of open shots.
''I think we were playing with more defensive force and focus in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't as if we were stopping them from getting open shots or what they wanted either.''
Duncan did miss a pair of free throws that kept him off the board in the fourth, when the Spurs connected on just 6 of 17 field goals.
But the Heat couldn't help but take a little pride in shutting down the 14-time All-Star.
''He's versatile,'' Dwyane Wade said of Duncan. ''He's not just a post player. He can get out. He can hit the shot, but he also does a good job of rolling, finishing and being in the right place for offensive rebounding. I thought we did a good job when it came to him ... and trying to make it tough on him.''
Even with the strong fourth-quarter effort, the Heat know there are a lot of defensive mistakes to be cleaned up in Game 3.
Wade noted the team's difficulty in stopping Duncan during the opening contest in the series, especially when Ginobli would dish to the forward near the basket.
''We'd like to be able to have our guys guard him, be there and make him take tougher shots and hopefully get him off his rhythm a little bit,'' Wade said.
Miami is also focusing on improving its one-on-one game, especially from 3-point range. Through two contests, San Antonio has hit 49 percent (25 of 51) of its shots from beyond the arc.
''We need to be able to contain the ball because when they're penetrating, kicking it out to their shooters, it makes it very difficult,'' Chris Bosh said. ''They're very unselfish as well. And they're putting the ball down and making different plays and it makes your defense scrambling a little too much and they take advantage. You make one mistake and they capitalize.''
A BIT STEAMED?
Was a broken air conditioner in Game 1 an anomaly? Or perhaps part of home-court advantage for the Spurs?
The Heat have moved on from the controversy since playing in the sweltering AT&T Center, but Bosh thought it was interesting to hear of a report that San Antonio had fans in its locker room.
''I wish we would have gotten the memo,'' Bosh said. ''It would have been nice to have some fans.
''I reminds me of high school, when you're on the road and you're heavily disadvantaged. They've got cool towels, ice and cool drinks like that. It's just part of the game, I guess. It was a very unique situation. I don't think anybody really knew how to handle it on the fly.''
Since a stellar defensive effort in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, forward Rashard Lewis has been a frequent contributor in all aspects of Miami's run.
''He is (a spark). We needed that,'' LeBron James said. ''We needed that role filled with Mike Miller's departure and Rashard Lewis has brought that. Ever since he's been inserted into the starting lineup, he's given us a huge boost defensively, offensively with his ability to make shots, shoot the ball from outside.''
Lewis, who recorded double digits in points just eight times in 60 regular season games, has scored at least 10 points in each of his last four.
HE SAID IT
Much has been made about how the ''Big Three'' -- James, Bosh and Wade -- and their successful tenure in Miami. When Bosh reflected on how they initially ''had growing up to do'' and developed into ''outstanding citizens on and off the court,'' the center's thoughts became side tracked.
''I think just the guys that we are today, the men we are today... I've got way more kids and ... not everybody else does. Just me,'' Bosh said.