Observations from Game 1 Spurs victory over the Heat

Spurs fans have to be happy after Game 1, but we all know you can’t project out the entire series after one game. The NBA playoffs are all about adjustments as we saw in the Indiana series, and now we’ll see what Erik Spoelstra has planned for game 2.

– We’ve all seen Miami come back again and again after a tough loss, so we should expect to see some adjustments for Game 2. That said, San Antonio is much more experienced and consistent that the Pacers. They anticipate adjustments and can respond in kind. The Spurs will be tough to beat if they play like they did last night and start hitting their threes. That said, Lebron mysteriously stayed away from the post last night. Let’s see if Spoelstra adjusts the offensive game plan.

– Fatigue was a factor for Miami. Of course that has a lot to do with the Indiana series, but the Spurs know how to run a defense ragged. The aggressive Miami defense that often destroyed the Pacers in the half-court wasn’t as effective against an efficient Spurs team that had only four turnovers. It’s not a good sign that he had to ask Spoelstra for a breather at the end of the third quarter.

– Lebron played well last night, but he certainly wasn’t in “beast mode” against this defense. The Spurs clogged the lane and dared Lebron to dish to his teammates. They’re happy to watch Chris Bosh launch threes, especially in crunch time. We’ll see whether Lebron can find a way to take control. This series looks like a great challenge for him.

– If Lebron, Wade and Bosh all play well, Miami can beat anyone any night of the week. But Wade and Bosh have been inconsistent, and that creates huge problems for Miami. The Miami bench has also been erratic. Shane Battier was on fire last year, but this year he’s basically been benched in favor of Mike Miller, who is a huge liability on defense. Meanwhile, the Spurs are more disciplined, efficient and experienced. They’re also deep, and even though Spoelstra has established himself as a very good coach, Gregg Popovich is the best in the business. Tony Parker is clearly on his game, and Tim Duncan continues to play at a high level. Manu Ginobili has yet to get hot.

– Basically, the Heat have to play well to win this one. That may sound obvious, but the point is they can’t expect the other team to self-destruct at times in the face of their defense. Indiana played a great series and almost beat Miami, but they’re still young and erratic, and their offense would disappear at times. Frank Vogel did a great job, but he had no clue when to call a timeout against the Heat onslaught. Popovich doesn’t make those mistakes. He knows how to control a game and stop a run.

So let’s see how Miami responds. If history is a judge, the Spurs will have their hands full in game 2, not that they won’t be ready.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Why are people surprised that vets would want to play with the Super Friends?

Chris Bosh (L), Dwyane Wade (C) and LeBron James show 10,000 fans their Miami Heat jerseys after signing 6 year contracts with the Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on July 9, 2010. UPI/Michael Bush Photo via Newscom

After LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided once and for all that they were going to team up in Miami, Ric Bucher was one of the ones (along with Jon Barry, let’s not forget him) that questioned what kind of supporting cast the Heat would be able to put around their three stars.

Now that the roster is complete with the signing of sharpshooter Eddie House, Bucher chimes in on Twitter:

Count me unconvinced the Heat are the L’s next champ. But as far as supporting casts built on very limited $, they did incredibly well.

Looking at the Heat’s roster — the key signings were Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem, which Miami got at a discount. Miller should thrive in open catch and shoot situations, while Haslem was convinced by his loyalty to the organization and to the team. Haslem is an undersized center, but right there, the Heat have the league’s strongest starting five, at least on paper.

The Heat knew they needed more shooters, so they re-signed James Jones and signed House, who are both career 39%+ from 3PT. Mario Chalmers is not on their level, but he’s a threat from deep and has played in pressure situations before (at Kansas, where he hit an amazing shot to send the title game against Memphis into overtime). Carlos Arroyo is still there as well, and hopefully he’s locked in a gym somewhere working on this outside touch.

Miami also added several bigs to shore up the front line around Bosh and Haslem. They signed veterans Juwan Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who are obviously at the ends of their respective careers, but they should still be able to give a few productive minutes off the bench. Jamaal Magloire is another big body who could contend with Dwight Howard in a possible matchup with Orlando.

They have some young bigs as well. Joel Anthony is a promising defensive center and the Heat drafted Jarvis Varnado, Da’Sean Butler and Dexter Pittman to round out the front line.

All in all, the roster came together very well, starting with the Miller and Haslem signings. Once those two were locked up, the rest was just gravy. Pat Riley did a wonderful job this summer.

Now they have to play the games.

It’s official: Mike Miller signs with the Heat

Feb. 19, 2010 - Washington, China - (100220) -- WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2010 (Xinhua) -- Nene Hilario (L) of Denver Nuggets defends Mike Miller of Washington Wizards during their NBA game in Washington, the United States, Feb. 19, 2010. Wizards won the match 107-97. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun.

It looked a little dicey there for a bit, but sharpshooter Mike Miller has signed a five-year deal with the Miami Heat.

Miller announced it on Twitter, saying “It’s official” and thanking Heat owner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley.

The 6-foot-8 sharpshooter becomes the latest player to take less money than he could have made elsewhere to play for the Heat. James, Wade, Bosh and Udonis Haslem all left millions on the bargaining table in order to ensure the Heat would have flexibility to sign players like Miller.

Terms were not immediately disclosed, but Miller’s deal was expected to be worth around $25 million.

It’s all about spacing. Every championship team has had a player or two who specializes in knocking down open jumpers; someone who can make a team pay if the defense leaves them open. Teams won’t be able to double-team off of Miller because he’s going to hit 40% or so of his three-point attempts.

Miller turned down more money to play with the Super Friends. Along with Udonis Haslem, the Heat now have a good core, and can add a few savvy veterans to the mix.

Mike Miller joining Miami Thrice?

Minnesota Timberwolves Wayne Ellington (19) defends against Washington Wizards Mike Miller (6) during the fourth quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on February 17, 2010. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn.

After freeing up some cap space by trading Michael Beasley to the T-Wolves, the Heat want to replace him with Mike Miller, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Heat then turned around and reportedly utilized that $4.9 million in gained cap space on Washington Wizards free-agent swingman Mike Miller, who had a standing five-year, $30 million offer on the table from the Heat. Radio station KSFY in Miller’s native South Dakota reported the deal early Friday morning.

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers also had offers on the table for Miller, with the Clippers’ package worth significantly more than the Heat package.

Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James were nothing if not pragmatic by teaming up in South Beach, and Miller is just as wise to choose situation over salary. He’s exactly the kind of player the Heat need to play alongside their three stars.

He’s a sharpshooter (career 40.5% from 3PT) and willing passer (3.9 apg last season) and he will make teams pay if they try to double off of him onto LWB (LeBron, Wade, Bosh). At the age of 30, he’s at the tail end of his prime, but his game should age pretty well, a la Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.

Maybe the most important thing about this potential signing is how Miller is clearly willing to leave money on the table to play for a winner. It’s an early indication that the Heat won’t have much trouble filling out its roster with capable role players.

Miami making a late bid for Carlos Boozer?

ESPN’s Ric Bucher tweeted this 15 minutes ago:

This is ESPN Rumor Central fodder for now but too tantalizing not to mention: 11th-hour talks are on that would send Boozer to Miami.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski followed up with this:

Utah and Miami have recruited Wiz to be 3rd team in Boozer talks. Wash would get cap relief out of it. Beasley not involved, source says.

Michael Beasley wouldn’t seem like a good fit with Jerry Sloan, so it makes sense that Wojnarowski is saying that he’s not involved. But who would the Jazz get in this deal? Udonis Haslem? Jermaine O’Neal? Josh Howard? Al Thornton? Mike Miller?

I’ve always thought that Miller was destined to play in Utah, but would he be worth giving up Boozer and the team’s shot at a playoff run this year? Maybe the Jazz would go for Miller and one of the Heat’s first round picks.

Wojnarowski says that Washington will get salary cap relief out of it, but they only have one bad contract (Gilbert Arenas) on the books for next season, so he must be talking about relief this season. How about this trade which would send Miller and Dorrell Wright (and one of Miami’s first round picks) to Utah, Udonis Haslem to Washington (trimming $2.8 million from this year’s payroll) and Boozer to Miami?

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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