Print and Go Back TrueHoop [Print without images]

Friday, June 7, 2013
Aggression decided Game 1

By Henry Abbott

Steve Mitchell/Getty Images
When the Heat brought the fight to the Spurs, it worked.

David Thorpe is my X's and O's mentor. We have been talking for hours a week for years, and I have learned a ton about what coaches do and how much it matters.

After Game 1, though, while the whole world was talking X's and O's like San Antonio's "anyone but LeBron" defensive scheme or early-game substitution patterns -- classic Thorpe issues -- Thorpe talked for a half-hour about how the Spurs won, and barely mentioned tactics at all.

The topic was aggression.

If he were Erik Spoelstra, I asked him, what would he be telling the Heat right now? Thorpe didn't hesitate: "I'd go nuts. I'd tell them this was horse s---. It was like they were playing the Milwaukee Bucks in November, thinking they were so much better that just doing things the right way would be enough. I'd say guys, we're giving them our rings. Against a lot of opponents they're so  much better that going through the motions is enough. But they're  not so much better against the Spurs. San Antonio has won, what, seven straight playoff games now? The Heat were so afraid to make mistakes that they were making them all over the court. I'd say we've got to take the fight to them. We've got to take chances. We've got to blitz them and attack them. Norris Cole did it. Dwyane Wade did it some. 'Bron only now and again."

Some particulars: