Monday, June 12, 2006

NBA FINALS ... THE HEAT IS ON!

Yech! When Eric Dampier (6 points, 13 'boards, a steal and a block) hangs more points than Shaquille O'Neal (5 points, 6 'boards, 0 blocks) either the apocalypse is truly upon us... or the unthinkable has arrived; O'Neal can no longer get it done. Is that right? I mean, Alonzo Mourning (11 points, 4 Rebounds, 1 Block) was arguably the most dominant Miami Center on the floor last night.

Do I think "The Diesel" is sputtering? Absolutely. Anyone who watched last night's game or bothered to pick-up a Newspaper and took a look at the Box-Score can tell you that much. But, the entire Miami team, with the notable exceptions of D-Wade and Udonis Haslem, is aging, and perhaps... just perhaps, Riley's insistence that the O' go through Shaq'-Daddy is more to blame.

Is Riley antiquated? Certainly not, but 'Twan Walker, Gary Payton, Jason "White Chocolate" Williams, and Derek Anderson (who has yet to play a minute) are. Down 2 games to none, Miami is in dire straits. Wade, frustrated, got hit with a Technical last night and anyone who knows Basketball knows that Wade is usually the most confident, most even-tempered player on the floor.

If Miami is to make a series out of what is quickly becoming a rout, the following must occur;

1. The Dallas Mavericks are fast and deep. They quickly collapse on the passing lanes and take O'Neal out of the play. If the Heat are to clamber back into this thing, they must stop heaving 3's. Although it's a radical departure from their current slow, pound the ball into Shaq' tempo, the team must devise an alternative scoring system; make use of Wade's ability to penetrate and Walker's reliable Jumper. Once Miami buries a few Jump-Shots, the Mavs' will be forced out of the paint... thus leaving o'Neal in a more favorable position.

2. Play "smart" Basketball; stop forcing the ball into openings that are no larger than a postage stamp and take better, high percentage shots.

3. Miami just can't run with Jason Terry, Devin Harris, Dirk Nowitzki, and Josh Howard... but, as the Mavs' did to the Suns, the Heat must force Dallas to play at a slower pace. Last night, the game was close for... oh, about a Quarter and a half. After that, Dallas simply ran away with the game.

4. The next 2 games are "win at all cost affairs." Miami doesn't have a prayer if they're forced to win at Dallas.

Miami's body language will speak volumes. If, on Tuesday night, the team comes out and does anything but spit fire and piss vinegar... the game will be over before its even begun.

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