Miami Counts On Heart, ‘Better’ LeBron

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SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker or no Tony Parker, meh. That’s about how the Miami Heat’s opinions went on the availability of San Antonio’s All-Star point guard in Game 4 of The Finals Thursday night.

Word that Parker, who suffered a mild hamstring strain in Game 3 Tuesday, was feeling well enough to play had made the leap via social media and other Internet options from the Spurs’ practice facility to the Miami shootaround, held at The Episcopal School of Texas on the northern outskirts of San Antonio because it’s closer to the Heat’s resort hotel than the AT&T Center.

Emotional impact on the visitors? Stronger than a yawn, milder than a swoon. Somewhere in shrug territory maybe.

“If he’s out there, we expect him to be 100 percent,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Much like they expect our guys to be 100 percent. Hopefully he does play, hopefully he’s healthy – we don’t want any excuses either way in this series.”

Whoa on that beat-them-at-their-best stuff, said forward Chris Bosh.

“I don’t care. If he’s playing that’s fine,” Bosh said. “That doesn’t change what we’re doing. That doesn’t change how we feel. No matter who plays, it’s Game 4 of The Finals. It’s something where we really don’t mind who’s out there. It’s just all about us.”

First, of course, it’s about them and him, how the Heat will respond to the blowout loss and whether LeBron James‘ repeated statements about playing better than in Game 3 – the 113-77 smashing, James called it – will pan out.

“I can’t say he’s going to score a lot of points, I can’t say he’s going to get a lot of rebounds,” Bosh said. “You never know how the game is going to go. But he is going to play a lot better, no matter what happens.

“He just needs to be himself. Play the game. I know everybody wants him to score 58 points a game and just go 1-on-5 every time. It doesn’t work like that. This is a team sport. He has to be aggressive. But he has to play basketball and just let the game come to him.”

Surely one score sheet stat in which James can improve is free-throw attempts. He shot none in Game 3, the first time that has happened since 2009 in any game and since 2007 in a playoff game. As big as he is, as aggressive as he can be and as frequently as the ball is in his hands, surely he can dictate some trips to the foul line, right?

Not necessarily, Bosh said (and stop calling him Shirley).

“Against this group, I think he’s had to figure out how to do that,” the Heat power forward said. “They’re ‘helping’ [with extra defenders] quite a bit. And they’re near the top of the league in least-fouls-committed.”

Bosh is right: San Antonio ranked fourth in fewest free throws allowed with 1,617. The league average was 1,818 this season.

“They do a good job of not fouling, but they send a lot of guys to the ball,” Bosh said. “So he’s going to have to make the right basketball plays, and those small windows of opportunity he gets to maybe draw a foul, that’s when he’s got to [think], ‘This is my chance right here. It’s the 20th possession we’ve had, but I’ve got a chance to go now.’ “

Even if James doesn’t pile up free points from the line, he can get various Spurs players into foul trouble, perhaps thinning their rotation or altering the aggressiveness with which they can defend.

“It changes things a lot,” Bosh said. “But it’s easier said than done. They’re trained well. It’s something we’re continuing to get the timing for, but if we change our mentality, we change what we’re supposed to do, we’ll get there.”

Spoelstra brushed off a few questions about boosting Mike Miller‘s role, despite at least one report suggesting the Heat sharpshooter might be moved into the starting lineup for power forward Udonis Haslem. That could stretch San Antonio’s defense, providing room for James to maneuver. Spoelstra said he hoped Miller’s minutes, however they come and how many,  could be efficient and impactful.

20 Comments

  1. Miami Heat Fan says:

    it’s a must win now for spurs on sunday or else say bye bye to the last chance of spurs and td finals appearance and no more 5 rings..lol Well. they can try but still Miami will win the rest of the 2 games.

  2. RamonBraganza says:

    Hahaha funny how guys here hate Miami so much. get real, everyone in their respective teams are doing good even the coaches. Just commend the guys who won. Don’t hate them because they’re doing good.

  3. Theholyspectator says:

    When miami heat basketball is engaged and the big 3 make up 70% of the heats points..its over..no one can beat them when they play like how they played tonight in game 4. Heat take game 5 and potentially have a chance to be crowned next thursday…what an awesome series

  4. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    2-2 Heat won, all the heat-haters please get off the spurs bandwagon!

  5. Chris says:

    Can’t help but think that David Stern won’t let a mid-mArket team beat his beloved Heat. #250kless Spurs P.S. David, thanks for keeping it honest! There’s a reason why people prefer college basketball vs. NBA.

  6. LeeBron James says:

    HEAT WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Kimmy says:

    Well, it looks like Parker is playing toniight. We have a series guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • B-Ball4Life says:

      Parker? Who cares!! That’s Miami Heat defense and the real BIG THREE! Shut up haters. LeBron promised and delivered.

  8. Jumppong says:

    Get ready Lebron will disappear on the 4th quarter

  9. Vanessa says:

    No matter what poor Lebron says he always gets the blame!

  10. Bleed Green says:

    Miami is in trouble now :)

  11. stofstar says:

    Also, I hope it comes out wrong in the media. But James putting it all on his shoulders sounds to me as if he’s only looking at himself, only improving his own game, which is way to narrow minded. I would like to hear him say he’l have a good talk with some of the other dudes on the team and motivate them to step up. At least that would give him some more playing ground and a chance to break tru his difficulties of the last game and explode for a monster game.
    Miami is giving me a headache, the sooner it’s over the better. Go Spurs!

    • fan says:

      He is taking the blame for them cause he can handle the criticism, he’s had it his whole career, but some of the others might not be able to. And him playing good makes everybody else feel and play better

  12. stofstar says:

    As I recal it’s the Miami Heat, not Miami James. All I read here is that Miami is waiting on James to do his tricks. I know he is the star player, but wake up, one player will only win a game or two, not the finals against the Spurs. Good luck with that.
    Bosh realy irritates me, he is the one who needs to start playing better and put some numbers on the stat sheet instead of talking nonsense.

  13. realist2013 says:

    Spoelstra wont move him into the lineup because that qould mean he’d be on duncan lol. haslem is the only decent one they have to put on him. Miller would foul out and Duncan would have a field day. Miller and Allen arent good defenders. Miami opted to a to of offensive weapons to overwelm other teams defense but in doing so they hurt their own. I personally dont think they have an answer for the Spurs cohesion. Miami and the hype to sell tickets they put in is compounding the pressure of the Finals and their big 3 union is whats making it worse. They will play with desperation. They can deny it all they want but their own drama created their issues.

  14. freddy says:

    No creo que Heat gane el cuarto partido, por muchas intenciones que tengan, los Spurs han sabido administrar en gran manera los tiempos, las jugadas, los jugadores y Povich está haciendo magia

  15. bballjunkie1 says:

    If Spo keeps coaching, not pushing buttons, not riding players who have the hot hand. Heck start out starting Birdman something different, Lebron can have 50 points and Heat can still lose. Watch substitutions, when and who. Love basketball, Lebron, Duncun and all, but the great coaches press to find the right matchups. Pop is coaching. Spo thinks this is regular season or something? He ‘ll let a whole quarter go by and by then Pop has found who is hot tonite. Pop has 4 rings 4 a reason he aint no 1st timer (OKC) to this party. In the Dallas series they started Berea, Spo never reacted, he made him an all star. Go figure !!!!