The Heat can work a mismatch for LeBron James against Kyle Korver a few times per game. Invariably, James and Dwyane Wade will do freaky stuff here and there, but Erik Spoelstra has stated it repeatedly: The Heat can't beat the Bulls' defense consistently with one-on-one basketball. At NBA Playbook, Sebastian Pruiti documents how the Heat generate their best half-court opportunities by moving off the ball.
The Heat don't need to be perfect on the glass. They don't even need to be great -- but they do need to tread water, something they did in Game 2 ... barely. Although the Heat grabbed four more rebounds than Chicago overall, Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post explains the numbers in more depth: "The Bulls took 82 shots, and missed 54. The Heat took 68 shots, and missed just 36. That means the Heat had many more opportunities for defensive rebounds — which are usually three to four times easier to get than offensive rebounds. In that context, a four-rebound edge isn’t that impressive. And Chicago got 17 offensive rebounds, compared to the Heat’s 35 defensive rebounds. That’s 32.7 percent. That’s better than Chicago did over the 82-game regular season (29.4 percent). That’s better than Sacramento’s league-leading percentage (29.9). That’s not as good as the 41.2 percent in Game 1, but it’s still too high. And it will get the Heat beat if it continues."
Just after the Heat acquired Mike Bibby a couple of months ago, an NBA assistant told me Bibby was the second-best screening guard in the game behind Chauncey Billups -- not because he's the biggest or strongest guy, but because he's crafty. Toward the bottom of the page, Zach Lowe of Point Forward demonstrates how the Heat utilize Bibby as a screener.
Dave D'Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger: "Sometimes a single matchup in one game can be the fulcrum on which a series shifts. We’ve seen it countless times. Occasionally, it happens around guys you don’t suspect. Leon Powe vs. Vlade Radmanovic in Game 2 of the ’08 Finals between the Celtics and Lakers. Goran Dragic vs. George Hill in Game 3 of Suns-Spurs last year. J.J. Barea against Steve Blake and Derek Fisher in Game 2 this year. We can only say this, for now: Haslem showed the world what Miami had been missing these last six months — a rock-solid trench warrior, a near-automatic pick-and-pop guy and a steady head."
Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball describes pictorially why Udonis Haslem is such an effective rebounder, even though he's not the biggest guy on the floor.
Eyeball report from Sports Media Watch: "Game 2 of the Heat/Bulls Eastern Conference Finals fell short of the record numbers for Game 1, but still scored one of the top audiences ever for the NBA on cable television ... Wednesday’s game ranks as the fourth-most viewed NBA game ever on cable television, behind Heat/Bulls Game 1 on Sunday (11.109M), the 2003 NBA All-Star Game (10.829M), and Cavaliers/Magic Game 4 in 2009 (10.075M). Including Game 5 of that Magic/Cavaliers series, LeBron James has now played in four of the five most-viewed NBA games ever on cable."
If the Heat and Dallas meet in the NBA Finals, Andrew Unterberger of The Basketball Jones is looking forward to a James-DeShawn Stevenson reunion: "DeShawn Stevenson turned himself into one of the main instigators of the fun, but largely one-sided and almost entirely forgotten rivalry between the Cavaliers and Wizards back in the mid-late ’00s when he called LeBron “overrated” during their ‘08 first-rounder. LeBron refused to fire back (and thus fired back) by saying that doing so would be “like Jay-Z responding to Soulja Boy.” Before the skirmish was over, both rappers had gotten involved (“Blow the Whistle“!!) and the Cavs had put the Wiz down in six games, the third straight year they eliminated Washington before round two. The teams are different now, with DeShawn on the Mavs and LeBron obviously on the Heat, but here’s hoping that the two seeing each other will get that old feeling back."
In a display of unintentional self-irony, Chicago Tribune blogger Steve Rosenbloom wonders if Erik Spoelstra is insecure.