NBA Finals Game 3 Notes: Miami Heat Over OKC Thunder 91-85

LeBron James should be playing in the block more as a point forward. He has the vision to hit the open man. He’s a great finisher around the basket and would draw more fouls, hence more free throws. Miami’s offense is predictable and stagnant, at least this would draw double teams and the help defense to over commit.

Dwyane Wade doesn’t move around enough. He should be getting open looks and easy baskets by cutting. Chris Bosh and LeBron James are excellent distributors and Wade would get open mid-range jumpers if he wasn’t standing still. He plays hero ball too much, and takes too long to make a decision when he has the ball. He will make a couple timely hoops but he’s not playing at a high level when you combine statistics with the eye test.

Chris Bosh needs to hang around the free throw area offensively. Not every single play, but Miami uses his ability to distribute and he’s a threat with his shot (although he’s been off), especially if James is on the block or baseline. Bosh cut down the lane for 2 easy dunks from the free throw.

In fact, the Heat could run some triangle within the offensive flow with Wade on the wing. James could back screen for Wade when Bosh has the ball and cause a mismatch if not an easy layup. If Wade had the ball on the wing, Bosh could run a pick and pop with him and Shane Battier (or Mike Miller)  in the opposite corner if the defense cheats. It’s simple basketball.

Speaking of Battier or Miller, those two should be in with the big three. Wade would initiate the offense and those 2 would spread the floor and give their offense much needed spacing. Not to mention James and Bosh on the front line. This unit should get a handful of minutes together in each half.

When Chalmers is in the game, he should be controlling the ball over Wade. Chalmers attacks when he gets a pick while Wade prefers to go iso. Chalmers is on and off, but he doesn’t benefit you by standing in the corner. By the way Norris Cole had some success penetrating inside, which led to easy baskets.

OKC was playing Battier tight throughout the game. He was able to free up for just enough space on a few plays. Udonis Haslem should get a few more plays designed for him, he’s been able to get to the charity stripe.

Controlled Russell Westbrook is better, he’s more assertive and efficient.

Where is James Harden? The Sixth Man of the Year led the league in 4th quarter free throws. OKC has struggled in the 4th quarter to get all three playmakers involved in games two and three.

Also in games two and three, James has been attacking the paint and Kevin Durant is flirting with fouling out. serge Ibaka should get more time guarding James because of his length and footwork. If Ibaka were to get screened, he then becomes a help defender and he did lead the league in blocks.

Game 4 was always going to be the game OKC could steal on the road. Miami wanted to start and end strong at home. Although I’m going with Miami to win the series, the Thunder is a better and deeper team.

On that note, I’m not the biggest fan of OKC coach Scott Brooks. Dating back to a big regular season game with playoff implications against the Lakers, there’s two things I remember. To win the game in regulation, Brooks drew up an isolation play for Durant. In overtime, OKC ran a catch and shoot play for Westbrook. Those roles should have been reversed.

Well in game three, Brooks had Thabo Sefolosha inbound the ball with the shot clock turned off. He threw a turnover. That should have been James Harden passing the ball in.

Durant scored an efficient 25 points. Westbrook found success (19 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks) while Harden couldn’t connect with his shot, he did everything else right. Kendrick Perkins stepped up with a double-double, 10 points and 12 rebounds. Derek Fisher is reliable in a playoff rotation, he’s tough and can hurt you with timely baskets. Nick Collison should have played more in game two, and was taken out of the game from early foul trouble.

Wade scored his share of the points tonight, I’ll call him “Flash” again when he deserves that nickname. James flexed with a 29-point, 14 rebound stat line. Bosh struggled to score but he did manage a double-double, 10 points and 11 boards.

Also, James forced Durant into a tough shot down low in both games two and three. Perhaps you learn form those two situations, but this is the finals and a pick should have been set. It’s tough to score in the clutch, let alone in the block/baseline area. A pick would switch James onto someone else, and Durant would have a mismatch.

I put that on Coach Brooks as well. Erik Spoelstra gets his rightfully due criticism, as should Brooks. This series is based on talent, not coaching.

James sealed the deal with a couple free throws in game two, and did so again by splitting a pair in game three.

Prediction: OKC snags game 3 in South Beach and the Heat bounce back with a game 4 win, looking to close out the series in OKC.