James carries Heat in Game 4, but title chances appear slimmer

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com


VIDEO: Heat vs. Nets: Game 4

NEW YORK – Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals was the game LeBron James went off for 49 points. It was the game when the Miami Heat took control of the series with a 102-96 victory. And it was the game when it became even more clear that these Miami Heat are not those Miami Heat.

Given the state of the Eastern Conference, the champs might get to The Finals with only one or two losses. But given the state of the Western Conference, they shouldn’t necessarily be the favorites when they get there.

James played Game 4 like he wanted no part of a 2-2 series tie. The Heat have now won their last 10 games following a playoff loss, and he’s obviously the biggest reason why. He knows when his team needs him at his highest level and he knows how to get there.

On Monday, he attacked. After attempting just four shots in the restricted area in Game 3 (just one after the first quarter), he had 12 in Game 4. He made 11 of them, giving him more points at the basket (22) than anyone else in the game had total. And his 19 free throws were the most he’s attempted since the 2012 conference finals.

The Nets zoned up him whenever he touched the ball. They knew they had to keep him from getting away from the basket. But they simply couldn’t do it.

“We tried to keep him out of the paint,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said afterward. “It’s a little bit harder when you talk about it, because he’s not going to settle. Tonight, he didn’t settle. He put pressure on our defense.”

Chris Bosh (12 points on 5-for-9 shooting) and Dwyane Wade (15 points on 7-for-13) both shot better than 50 percent. But this was a James-heavy offense all night. According to SportVU, James had 105 touches, 43 more than any of his teammates and 35 more than he had in any of the first three games.

Bosh did hit the game-deciding basket, a corner 3-pointer with 57 seconds left. But it was, of course, the product of the attention that James drew from the Brooklyn defense.

It was a great play call and terrific execution out of a timeout. James set a screen for Wade, rolled to the basket and drew the attention of Kevin Garnett. And at that point, he knew where the open shot would be.

“I went to attack KG, who came off of [Chris Bosh],” James said, “and I already knew exactly what was about to happen.”

Once Paul Pierce recovered to double-team James, he kicked the ball out to Mario Chalmers, who found Bosh alone in the corner.

It was an example of James’ brilliance, belief in his teammates, and willingness to always make the right play. Bosh had missed 3s on the previous two possessions, but never lost the trust of the guy who had been dominating the game himself.

“The biggest play of the game, after scoring all those points, was getting off the ball” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s a basketball play that he just feels. He got off it without thinking about the consequences, and that’s what makes him unique.”

James wasn’t hogging the ball. There was some dribbling around on the perimeter when he sized up a matchup that he liked, but he was a willing passer whenever the situation called for it. It’s just that nobody else stepped up to take control of the offense.

Though James was willing to give up the ball on any given possession, he wasn’t willing to come out of the game in the second half. When Spoelstra halfheartedly suggested it, “What I told him,” James said, “I cannot say again.”

“Whatever I needed to do for us to win this game, it needed to be done.”

But how much will need to be done when the Heat are in The Finals? Will it be enough?

Though James played more than 43 minutes at a level that no one else in the world can reach, his team barely won on Monday. The Nets are one of the teams in this league that matches up best with the Heat, but those West teams have more weapons, and the Spurs and Clippers have the requisite ball movement and shooting to beat the Miami defense.

The Spurs, of course, were seconds away from beating the Heat last year. And several members of the Miami rotation have regressed since then.

That defense hasn’t been inconsistent all year. In the last two games, Brooklyn has scored 120 points per 100 possessions. And if the offense has to be so James-heavy more often than not, his third championship will be much harder to get than either of the first two.

It has become abundantly clear that James will need a new supporting cast this summer. The question is whether the current one can do enough to win nine more games.

136 Comments

  1. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    He’s not MJ by a long-shot, but he can guard all 5 positions, has the best team and can win games

  2. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    Miami is too tough to beat

  3. en. says:

    Not this year….lebrumm only has 2 rings yall act like he has 20 the way yall ride him…….just stay with him slap dat ball every time he charges at the basket like green did to him ……dats the only way to make him pay cause he will get all his fouls..

  4. jb says:

    Great players but the eastern conference has been weak for the past 5 years.. Realistically you only have one true team that can challenge them. ( Indiana).. Imagine them being in the western conference….

  5. Sexyleona08 says:

    For the HATERS…..Let’s Go Heat…no matter what people say…is going to be a 3 peat…. …HeatNation

  6. On fire says:

    I like the heat and James but I agreed with the article . The heat need new players in their roster because they don’t look the favor. Yes they can win the championship this year because they have James but I don’t like their chances even though I’m a heat fan. Last year the heat were a better team then this year. Do they have enough this year,I’m hoping they do.

  7. On fire says:

    I like the heat and James but I agreed with the article . The heat need new players in the roster because they don’t look the favor. Yes they can win the championship this year because they have James but I don’t like their chances even though I’m a heat fan. Last year the heat were a better team then this year. Do they have enough this year,I’m hoping they do.

  8. On fire says:

    I like the heat and James but I agreed with the article . The heat need new players in the roster because they don’t look the favor. Yes they can’t win the championship this year because they have James but I don’t like their chances even though I’m a heat fan. Last year the heat were a better team then this year. Do they have enough this year,I’m hoping they do.

  9. Jeremy castillo says:

    I’m tired of ya people that doubt the spurs . Ya heat fans piss me off

  10. mee(a)t says:

    This is one of the reasons why we have hear haters, you fans will never accept any sign of criticism and then proceed to bash while trying to prove a point by bringing up last year achievements.

  11. jdub455 says:

    The heat is not a consistent team this season but they do enough to win games… and this they will do again this year… For next year though, changes should be made particularly on post D and rebounds… battier and haslem are not consistent anymore given the battles they endured… heck, even dwade is nowhere the player they call FLASH… so exciting changes next year but they will have to grind it out again to get that 3peat and the team that will test them the most… the SPURS.

  12. lekong says:

    it’s an interesting article but they didn’t talk about the condition of the player what if they are exhausted and can’t play at a high enough level to win. plus if you look in the west conference there is a lil war between the clippers and thunder and i can tell you whoever face the spurs in conference final gonna give them a good run for their money so if the spurs make it to the final and since their main players are not that young their is a good chance the’re gonna be mashed up , and if it’s the thunder or clipper that go in the final they will be a litle exhausted too but will also lack the experience to handle the stress and pressure of the playoff’s big finale

  13. SRS says:

    yes, lets forget game 1 and 2 entirely…..

    kinda sad, the heat have a bad game (3), or lebron carries for a game (4) its doomsday declarations all over the place…

  14. Raptors says:

    3 Peat this year for lebron….then please move to the Raptors…you seen jurrasic park in t.o imagine that with LEbron!!

  15. BigFatTroll says:

    This writers really puzzle me. Just one game that James exploded for 49 points got the win but not a huge deficit and they say that the supporting cast of MIA is doing less. Just one game and this is the article they can write. What about Game 1? LeBron only needed to score 22 but Allen scored for 19 and Chalmers had 12 pts of his own, Bosh had 15 & Wade 14 and which they won with a margin of 21 pts? In game 2, 5 players for MIA scored double digits and again Bron only have to get 22 pts to have a 12 pts win.

    Sometimes this nba writers are bs. Just my 2 cents.

  16. Tin Man says:

    Lebron fans! Activate!
    Lol!

    On a sidenote.
    Pacers are “lost”.

  17. Dyron from Belize says:

    ‘if lebron wants a ring he should come play with our king’……. lol……… where is the lbj dude??? i miss him… he like the Javalle McGee of blogs… lol.
    This is the Spurs redemption……. We will win and then Kobe, Magic, and Shaq (4 rings) will have to respect TD21 5 rings and next year when the Spurs who are only getting better like fine wine repeat MJ will have to show the best PF some much needed and deserved respect…….. I’m tired of people saying Lebron is the next coming of Jesus or something…… my top 5 all time… MJ, TD, the rest i don’t care…… Kobe, Wilt, Shaq, Bron, Bill, idk… all of them have an argument but TD stood the time…….. he played with and won against all the greats….. 1999-present saw MJ, Kobe, Shaq, Bron… the supposed top 5 or so.. not to mention all the other Future HOFs TD had to go through. for all im concern TD won 99 after MJ won 98. it was not Shaq, Kobe, Chuck, KG, whoever else were around….. when the dust is settled TD will have 6 or 7 rings. Mark my words… he pays 3,4 or 5 more years and win 2 or 3 more… Spurs are getting better…. its the system and culture.

  18. bolsi says:

    We heard this 3years ago then what happened? make the finals for 3 straight won 2 out of 3 not bad

  19. jjvors says:

    Fun to read the pro and anti Miami comments. How many remember the same comments last year? The key fact NOT brought out is, except for San Antonio, the West teams do not take care of the ball. Turnovers are bread and butter for Miami. Miami did worse this year due to injuries, especially Wade. They’re at full strength. Look for more from Wade and Bosch from here on out.

    Still, Miami barely beat San Antonio last year. I’d say they have a 50-50 chance against them. Against anyone else in the West, 60-40.

  20. Edgar says:

    interesting points, their D has not been there like it has in the past, D Wade is clearly a step slow and occasionally playing like his head is elsewhere, this summer will be very very interesting in MIAMI.

  21. Brendan says:

    wow 100+ comments someone must have woke up the Miami fans or something. oh and go clippers and if not clips than nets pacers or any other western team will do I guess. sorry guys most nba fans don’t want a 3 peat this year

  22. free says:

    Yeah, this Heat team is less efficient this year than the last two previous years when they won the championships. But if LeBron maintains his focus on getting his third ring no matter what, well it will be extremely tough for any west conference favorite team to beat them in a 7 games serie. The Spurs learnt it the hard way last year. Lets go Heat !

  23. #MIA4PEAT says:

    All I know is that EVERY YEAR there is a article that stats that the heats chances of winning a title are slim just like last year during the eastern conference finals ….a lot of people doubted them and what did they do……..WIN…….as far as I’m concerned this is all b.s And by the way a win is a win …..

  24. RON says:

    “The West is best!” Yeah, thats what they say. But wait until dem Heat step on the court to play. Down the sideline….. he spins like hes running a drill………. over the defender……… a dunk……Oh what a spill!!!!!! So the next time you question the heat…….look at the scoreboard……its a 3 peat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Mike says:

    The wording of this quote from the article is quite interesting, “But given the state of the Western Conference, they shouldn’t necessarily be the favorites WHEN THEY GET THERE.”

    Why say “WHEN” rather than IF? If Indiana keeps getting their defense together and Lebron doesn’t get 20 free throws per game, I think that the Pacers could definitely beat the Heat… And hopefully they do!

  26. RON says:

    CHAMPIONS ALWAYS FINISH STRONG!!!!!!! LETS GO HEAT LETS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    YOU WILL SEE ANOTHER DIMENSION WITH THE HEAT!!!!!!!!!! WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE FULL THROTTLE!!!!!!!!! IM TELLING YOU CRITICS AND COLUMNISTS. ITS A DIFFERENT STORY ON THE HARDWOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. captain3peat says:

    Why are people saying they wouldn’t have won if he didnt have such a big game? Lebron had an awesome game and he scored a ton but did you see the night wade and chalmer’s were having? They had some good games too. So if Lebron wasnt the one scoring what makes everyone think nobody else would be doing the scoring? Lebron is capable of having great moments like this and he did. that doesnt mean his team didnt have his back if he didnt.

  28. O G NBA Fan says:

    Listen everyone knows Miami is the fav to win, but just like any team that gets hot, anyone can do it. The spurs have been hot, so they will sizzle out in the 3rd round, Miami will coast into the Final to either meet LA, or OKC. I figure if its LA, Miami wins in 5 games, if it OKC watch out everyone, they have been playing awful, and still manage to ride the storm, if they get hot its over! OKC vs MIAMI…….. OKC in 6 games, and celebrating on the heats court. There is a reason Lebron was not the MVP this year, and its the players around him, sometimes the weight will wear you out, look at OKC last year without westbrook. Take it to the bank!

  29. John says:

    I was thinking this before reading this article as well, and I’m a Miami fan. Miami is going to have to play great teams and they have to play great as a team. Lebron can do this type of thing now and again, but they need a complete team to win a championship. This one game is not necessarily a sign that Lebron NEEDS to do more, but can be a one game fluke. If it’s not then Miami is going to have issues in the next two Finals matchups.

  30. HEAT fan says:

    Think about it: saying that the Heat would have lost by three if LeBron scored 41 is like saying the Thunder would have won if KD scored 45. It doesn’t matter what COULD have happened, but what did happen. The Heat won and LeBron had a huge night.

  31. Aram says:

    A win is a win, slim chance or wide. A win is a win.

  32. Aram says:

    A win is a win, Slim or wide chances, it’s still a win.

  33. NBAfan says:

    Too many Lebron groupies coming up with stupid comments. This article did not bash Lebron for scoring 49 points! Please read carefully and take some time to understand the context.

    Facts:
    - They’re playing weaker Eastern Conference teams (a 7-1 playoff record doesn’t matter as much when you consider the strength of your opponents)
    - Their team is not as good as previous years (66–16 last year, 46-20 the year before) + (age, health, and roster)
    - Some Western Conference teams have improved even further

    Think about this … If James shot 12-24 from the field for a more realistic 50% as compared to this game’s 66%, he would have scored 41 points – which would still be great, but that would mean that Miami would lose the game by 3 points. It would have been a great 41 point performance from one individual on a losing effort.

    Yes, that didn’t happen and the Heat still won this game. But they won against an even older and weaker team, and needed 49 points from Lebron.

    I understand how fan-boys can get very touchy with their favorite player/team, but come on … the article makes sense.

  34. aqword says:

    b.s. article : Miami v Spurs final. and i take your job with ease.

  35. BOSS says:

    I don’t get why Spoelstra doesn’t play Beasley over Lewis. Clearly, Beasly is a much better scorer and he his capable better defender than lewis. Also, a better rebounder.

  36. CHEWITT1984 says:

    so when the heat win for a third time, someone need to fire the genius that wrote this article.

    thank you that it all.

  37. Benjie says:

    This article is stupid ,clearly the one who made this comment is one sided. Miami is 7-1 in playoff and they are getting stronger.Its not about James all the time they are a team.If bosh didn’t hit those 3 pointers in the last second or if dwade didn’t got the offensive rebound do you still think the nets had a chance. The answer is no.probably 50-50. Lastly they are known to be always and scrutiny and critics always frays for there short coming but in the end who cares miami will win 3 peat and probably you will shot up .

  38. lakers says:

    great game…Jason kidd has no business being NBA COACH…hes horrible….when the game was tied and bosh missed 2 threes in a row and Miami didn’t score on 3 straight trips down the floor u have to call a time out and draw up a play to take the lead…he didn’t and Nets took some bad shots and then Bosh BIG THREE IN THE CORNER PUT MIAMI UP FOR GOOD..GAME OVER..DWILL JUST CHOKES UNDER PRESSURE

  39. Elio says:

    This article is so stupid! All this experts on every site always find something negative about the Heat, but at the same time they keep going to the Finals for the last 3 years… and possible 4. Now, a lot of teams have tried to do the same the Miami Heat did 3 years ago and no one has the success the Heat had. Miami was built for the playoffs and so far they have done great 2 Championships. The heat have no problem playing any team on the road, they have proven they could beat anyone on their home court in the playoffs or finals. They beat the Bulls, O.K. City, Spurs, Pacers, Nets and just to name a few. Until someone beats the Heat in a best of 7 series don’t count this great team out who by the way could be a dynasty if the 3 peat. Just my opinion.

  40. all for all says:

    This post is so dumb and so serious,.. funny if KD were to score 50 pts This article will be like YEAH THE MVP DOES IT AGAIN..! but Bron with one thing in mind which was to win the game, now is a subject of THE HEAT HAS NO MORE PLAYERS OTHER THAN BRON.! I don’t want to say who will win the final because honestly I only have 2 candidates and sorry Pacers are not on the list compare to Miami Heat, Pacers is a team that barely got where they are because of inexperience team they are facing. Now can’t wait to see who will show up in Miami this final game against the Net which I guarantee will be the entire team…

  41. Game Ball says:

    @Fefe (Nets)
    dumb comments??? If I were you…. I just zip my mouth just like PP… We can read clearly….
    “James carries Heat in Game 4, but title chances appear slimmer ” Did we just read a false ads or something…. You don’t put SONY on introduction then you will say nope it’s just Aiwa with sony guts…. By the way you’re a nets fan…. and you find it very comforting, News Flash… Nets down 1-3 in the series… You should talk to paula “the FALSE” PIErce to guard LBJ again… so that LBJ can break his on record of 49 points…. maybe 50 points next time….

    • mee(a)t says:

      So you read the title and begun to bash John’s article, which actually contains some notable stat, without reading it?

  42. PG says:

    All good teams struggle. The first round of these playoffs proved it. I would have to agree with the editor however, I believe that Miami does not have enough to go the distance this year. I personally believe that they will not go past Indiana in the next round. Indiana seems to have gotten it together, and they have more roll players who can not only lock it down but also create. I say Indiana OKC finals.

    • Kunjaymaster says:

      Yea like the Pacers are the model for consistency right? They have gotten it together? You do realize Wizards choked a 19 point lead right? So far everything indicates Indiana was better last year, in every category. The Heat? Well 7-1 this post season having the most effective offense in the league.

    • carlos says:

      LeBron is LeBron, he put his team in his shoulders bro, I know him, remember against Celtics in Boston he play beautiful and heat won that year. if the pacers go to the finals the heat will beat again. can be 4-1 or 4-2. the other key will be OK or Spurus. the heat got the talent to beat them. I feel that the mavs got to be so hard very hard to the spurus, and almost they loss.

  43. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Some comments here are so dumb. People are not reading carefully. “Dumb article etc”.

    The author John Schuhmann didn’t say that the Heat can’t win this year. He even said clearly that Miami might get to The Finals (of course they’re the favorite to come out of the West). He said that it will be more difficult because the overall team is not as strong as last year’s squad (which is true) + the strength of Western Conference’s team is big enough to pose serious threat to Miami (Spurs of course, Clippers, OKC – Portland being nearly out of the picture now).

    That said: I agree to a certain extent, but Miami has shown that they can change gears & play better in the postseason. My Nets are currently experiencing it.

    People should get to read carefully before jumping on comments section & write nonsense.

    • Game Time says:

      The tone of this article is clearly anti-Miami. James just dropped 49 points while only shooting 24 shot attempts (no more than he usually takes) and the best thing this guy can say is “Miami’s chances for a title are slimmer”. I think everyone knows that a teams chances to repeat are always slimmer the next year off fatigue alone, but he’s also saying the supporting cast is decline, yet hasn’t put up any of the normal stats he does to prove that. It’s a garbage article, and well you’re a Nets fan so of course you support it.

  44. KingJames says:

    He isnt hating on the Heat at all,…. he takes pressure off them. And hes right. Heat are not as good as the previous years… everyone outside LeBron is declining.

  45. Vital says:

    i love this game!!!

  46. youngshabazz says:

    Its like Lebron has a great game, then the you guys think he shouldn’t go off for 49 because he has the other Big 2. Then bash the Heat saying James is doing too much. He does that much because HE WANTS TOO! If someone is having a big night its the rest of the teams job to get him the ball.Unspoken basketball rule. I swear since Lebron has gotten to Miami, for the last 4 years all I hear is “Is it enough?” He has 2 rings, and headed for his third. Heatnation! MV3! (And I’m a Heat and Wade fan).

    • Banks says:

      People and commentators are not bagging the heat they are just telling the truth the playoff grind is hard you can’t just go out and play almost the whole game every night in the playoffs It will hurt your body more than likely….if you saw the game last night lebron looked exhausted when the heat called time out in the 4th….. Do your homework

      • Average Joe says:

        That’s why they’ve been resting the whole season. They’ve been in cruise control so their players would be fresh for the playoffs. Anyone would be exhausted if they carried their team for much of the game. The difference is because they had much less wear and tear, they would be able to recover faster. Therein lies the Heat’s advantage.

    • TMac says:

      Exactly! What kills me is that if that was KD going for 49, he is praised and OKC are going to the finals and winning it all. Another poster (Chris?) said that OKC plays hero ball, and that is true…but they do it on a regular basis. Miami doesn’t play hero ball regularly.

  47. Antawn says:

    Tsk, tsk, tsk, Miami has a slimmer chance at the title? Last time I checked, they are 7-1 in the playoffs

  48. Marty says:

    Ignorant articla at best..Heat have no competition and thats why they wont win??? LOL..Have you ever watched basketball??LBJ took his team on his shoulders and won..You ever see any Chicago Bulls Championships??? Just an ignorant, ignorant article.. Maybe this guy figures a really bad article might get him attention??
    \

  49. Chalupa Jones says:

    If the heat win, lebron will not leave. Who the hell would leave a 3-peating team? Second – I’m not a heat fan, but I’m tired of this sensationalism. Jesus christ, they lose one game and their title chances are getting slimmer – do they have to 12-0 before the finals you clown?

  50. Birdman says:

    This article is clearly a heat hating one.

  51. ftasobe says:

    If the finals are Heat and Spurs again, it will be awesome. Those are two ball clubs that really know the meaning of playing basketball. Did you know that last years finals between them had no technical fouls? That’s because they were playing basketball and not just head hunting. In the NBA there are two teams that set an example and they are the Spurs and Heat. I’m a Heat fan since day one and I would love a rematch of these two teams. Let the best team win. Spurs are my second favorite team.

  52. Aliercy says:

    Who is this guy John, never heard of him before.,. What an idiot. Last time I check, spurs record against winning teams aint that good, same for the pacers. The thunder and clips cant play defense and they dont know how to play like a team. The heat are rested and if they are not as good as prvious years is because when u win sooo much its harder and harder to keep that same level of intensity over time, but they will be all right …. Goooo Heattttt. 3 peat baby, sorry heaters

  53. Mr. FlipStar says:

    LOL @ all the cHeat fans being butthurt over what homie said. Its a fact, the cHeat supporting cast is not as strong as it was last year. LBJ has gotten better, cant quite say the same for players 2-12 (Wade included).

    In any case, I dont see any team dethroning the Spurs this year. And I’m actually rooting for Indy.

  54. Chris says:

    Their chances depend on who they get. Can’t doubt them without knowing their opponent. OKC thrives on hero ball, and this article is trying to say Lebron is playing it with his team not stepping up. How often do OKC’s role players step up? Not often enough. If OKC makes the finals, Miami will still win easily. IMO the rockets had one of the best chances against them with a good center, maybe the grizzlies, only team left with a chance to beat them is the spurs. Clippers, blazers, thunder? Eh, if any of them made the finals they’d better hope Indy knocks Miami off.

  55. Game Time says:

    Schuhmann has always been anti-James and Miami so the article doesn’t surprise me, just his ignorance to facts since he’s supposed to be a stats guy.

  56. Dollar Man says:

    The Heat’s cast of supporting players around LeBron is so horrible that they’ve gone to three straight Finals, winning the last two. They’re so terrible that they’ve lost ONE GAME this post-season. I guess John S. thinks James should go play with the Knicks or the Bulls and their terrific rosters. What a joke.

    Go Heat.

  57. Miami says:

    Someone help me understand, how has Miami supporting cast diminished when D.Wade is playing better since last year with more points and shooting at 49 % on the field and Chris Bosh is averaging more points and shooting 50% from the field and 44$ from 3 point range? If Miami when wins game 5 vs the Nets, they would have started the playoffs the same way as last year beating the Bucks 4-0, Bulls 4-1 when they won the championship.!

  58. Sonny Ray says:

    Whats to fear. Do you forget the heat lost one game all post season. The spurs are supposed to stop Miami? Didnt they just get pushed to game 7 against the 8th seeded Mavs. OKC went to game 7 against the 7th seeded Grizz and wouldnt have won if Z-BO played. Golden State is my team but they were the 6th seed and pushed the Clippers to the limit. The top 3 teams on the west that “SHOULD” be able to compete with Miami struggled severely against the bottom 3 western playoff teams that wont put a scratch on miami. 3-PEAT!!!

    • Bball7 says:

      Lol you realize the bottom 3 in the west would’ve been in the top five in the east…

      • Sonny ray says:

        So you’re saying the mavericks, the grizzlies and/or warriors could beat Miami in 7 games? Doubt it.

  59. TMac says:

    I guess it is okay for other teams to struggle every now and than in the playoffs, but if Miami Heat struggle, their chances of winning the title is getting slimmer?? Spurs struggled against Dallas, Pacers struggled against Atlanta, and OKC struggled against Memphis, and they may struggle against Clippers the whole second round….and nobody really said much about them struggling (well, some people did blast the Pacers). If Spurs had a hard time with the Mavs, then what makes people think they won’t have a hard time with the Heat if the Heat and Spurs make it to the finals? I don’t understand that logic seeing that Miami’s lineup is waaay better than Mavs…..so that means Spurs would have an even harder time with the Heat.

    • King says:

      Wrong, Mavs are pretty good and could probably get to eastern conference finals if they were in the east. They’re actually harder to guard than the Heat because they have more shot creators, and they have an actual superstar in Dirk. Heat has Lebron that can’t shoot which makes him easy to guard. Dwyane is the best on Heat and hardest to guard, but Lebron has his puppy in check so he defers. When you play Mavs you’re hit from all directions where they become unable to guard at times. Heat is a pretty easy team to guard, but apparently only Rick Carlisle and Greg Popavich know how to guard them. While other teams play close and double those two teams give Lebron the shot, because he can’t shoot consistently, and stay on shooters. It makes it very difficult on the Heat and the only way they can get past a team like that is to give Wade the ball more and have Lebron play cutter because Wade can actually consistently shoot from mid range.

      • TMac says:

        I never said Mavs weren’t a good team because they are. I said Heat’s lineup is better in my opinion. Mavs has a superstars in Dirk, but Heat has a bigger superstar in Lebron. Mavs has shoot creators, but look at Miami’s shoot creators. To me Miami’s shoot creators are better than Mavs’ shoot creators….look at the numbers. Miami puts up better numbers when facing both East and West teams than the Mavs….even Miami’s bench contributes better than the Mavs bench.

      • TMac says:

        And Lebron could score more than 30 a game if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to. The whole point of him going to Miami was to cut back on having to shoot so many times, etc….he wants to play team basketball. However, when it is time to come up big, he delivers…. Especially when the rest of the team is in a funk. He was the reason why Ray Allen got the chance to tie the game in game 6 of the finals. Lebron has gotten better at his mid range jumpers and than some. He has gotten better and consistent. He was off the wall more consistent last year than any other previous seasons. Spurs wanted Lebron to beat them by jump shooting, and guess what…he did. That plan backfired.

    • Chris says:

      He means to say, Miami is playing hero ball. Which doesn’t win titles. But by his logic, OKC can’t win a title ever. As that’s their bread and butter

  60. Harsha Abeyaratne says:

    John Schumann, you are a Heat hater! This was a game they had to win, and Lebron rose to the occasion, just like the way the other greats have done in the past in those situations (remember Michael’s 39 against Utah in Game 5?, etc). Take a bet the Heat will win the next game to finish the series and Lebron would not even score more than 25. Then what will you have to say?

  61. Erlo says:

    Spurs vs heat in another Game 7 Finals. Both teams are TEAMS, and not a couple dudes throwing up shots. Did Lebron have a big night? Sure, but his game dictated that for the one night. Spurs are just as good at playing team defense and team offense. Should be a good final with the Spurs and the heat, no team is beating either.

  62. Jing says:

    What a baseless article! I shouldn’t have read this!

  63. Greg Harlston says:

    “The Spurs, of course, were seconds away from beating the Heat last year.” Yeah, like 2880 seconds away. Yes, they lost game 6 in the final seconds, but what about game 7? They had 48 minutes to make good on letting a game get a way. So what happened? They lost that one too. So the Heat have regressed and Tim Duncan,Tony Parker, Manu Ginobilli have all found the fountain of youth I suppose. Give me a break. Basketball is about match ups. The Spurs don’t have anyone who can guard Lebron either…Leonard does okay but LBJ is too big for him too.

  64. en. says:

    Heat fans don’t panic ……I mean don’t be scared

  65. Miami is struggling indeed but I still think they’ll win the East. It will be tough against OKC / LAC but I’m confident that my Spurs will also win the West (I respect Portland but with our 3 – 1 lead, chances are that we will move on to the West Finals). Hope to have another epic and entertaining Spurs – Heat Finals Series. #GoSpursGo :-)

  66. widmarck gardones says:

    this writing is stupid and baseless . The clippers will never beat the heat ! think first before writing junk

  67. sally says:

    The League and the media want it to be the year for KD and the Thunder, they started right at the beginning of the season drilling this into all of us, that’s all you saw was KD, this and KD that, even he said he was not doing anything different than he did last year…and he didn’t, he just stepped up his game while Westbrook was out. Big Deal…They want to sway everybody that way….you never hear anything positive about the Heat, it’s all negative. Well you may have to eat y o ur words because the Heat are not through by a long shot.

  68. standard says:

    sup bandwagons
    not getting nuff bron bron?
    get his app and nock yourselves out

  69. sally says:

    I think your full of hooey Mr. Schhmann, just because the Western teams are playing that running game doesn’t mean the Heat can’t compete, they have beat everyone of those teams during the season. They adjust to their opponent, you media guys including the ESPN bunch are a bit quick to criticize i think. I listen to the TNT boys , they know what their talking about.

  70. Heat 3 Peat says:

    So the Heat pull off a tight win, the Spurs lose their clinch game and your story is about how the Heat won’t win the Championship? One would have to be naive to ignore the strength of the west coast but the Heat have an excellent track record vs. the west coast teams. I like how you automatically dismissed the Pacers from the championship chances. Not a well written article at all. This is supposed to be a NON biased article.

    • Bball7 says:

      Regular season doesn’t matter….Nets swept your heat and look where they are now

  71. wade says:

    Every series is giving you different match ups every game can be different if the coach changes things up. So how can anyone “Know” what will happen next. Nuf said. Pacers could win Heat could win not even God knows.

  72. ane29 says:

    Are you getting crazy? If you don’t have any idea of what to write please don’t write about stupid things!!!

  73. Terrence says:

    That’s exactly what Spoelstra wants people to think, just wait until they unleash the Kraken(Oden, Haslem, and Beasley) in the conference Finals and Finals. The Heat have been on cruise control all year long.

  74. Terrence says:

    This is stupid, the Heat have been on cruise control all year long. They’re playing to their competition, knowing that they’re going to be in the Finals again. Why haven’t we seen Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem, or Gregg Oden. Because Spoelstra doesn’t want teams to see all kinds of film to be able to prepare for them. They’ve been playing small ALL year long. When the Finals roll around, Spoelstra is going to unleash the kraken, and it’s going to be a swift victory.

    • Chris says:

      Because Greg Oden has a track record of being reliable, right? Heat have a huge shot at the title, but you’re insulting the competition if you think it’ll be easy

  75. LBJMVP says:

    this article is stupid.

  76. Wrathe says:

    Yeah I don’t think this one game sample is indicative of the entire team. If Lebron was doing this EVERY night then this article would make sense. Any one game from any team can (and most likely will) offer a skewed perspective on how the team is operating. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebron told everyone to hop on his back for this game. Next game we will see a much more balanced Heat bench and Lebron scoring around 21.

  77. william rodriguez says:

    Don’t worry, official have the Heat’s back, nobody will beat them because all has been decided by officials, 15 bad calls change any game a give the W to anyone, the has lost the respect to basketball using officials to pump up a marketing product, so you can say anything here but until officials become fair lebron greatness will be only a question of how joe crawford and company calls the game

    • TMac says:

      You can’t be serious, right?
      I have seen a bunch of missed calls in Miami’s favor…..just like I see a bunch of calls missed in other teams favor.
      When Spurs and Heat played in the finals, the Spurs had most calls go in their favor in every game. I even compared how many fouls Miami had and Spurs had , and Miami had a TON compared to Miami.
      If the officials wanted Miami to when, Miami would be blowing teams out the water and rarely losing.

      • Chris says:

        OKC gets all the calls, this guy clearly hasn’t seen Durant’s free throw numbers.

  78. Sarah Johnson says:

    You’re making too much out of one game. The next game the HEAT plays is balanced; and then what do you make of your “gloom and doom” comment?

  79. Sarah Johnson says:

    You are making too much out of one game. The next game the HEAT offensive output is balanced, and then what do you have to say?

  80. mz93 says:

    its just one game. you cant really tell right away if they’ll easily slip away from the title. pft.

  81. rey says:

    I dont think so! Its called Stepping Up when nobody is there to get scores. Its also Leadership, a Go-to Guy. How about Dwade and Bosh woth 15&11 points, what is that?. RELAX Man… Speak up when The Heat is out of Playoffs.

  82. Kgutz says:

    Only the Spurs can win 4 games against Miami… OKC neither LAC will be a problem for the Heat!

  83. simon says:

    I just wasted 3 minutes of my time. This is a very stupid article.

  84. Game Ball says:

    I don’t get it??? If it is durant, Media will say.. He’s a contender…. He’s a scoring champ and MVP He will make it to the Finals… But when LBJ doing it all, media guys telling the world chances getting slimmer??? Are you certain about that??? Does Dwade’s off. reb. didn’t help the HEAT??? How About Bosh 3′s in the corner??? So you telling us LBJ come up BIG but the whole HEAT team didn’t contribute??? 49 points may be BIG in playoffs but that was just a fraction of 102points that the HEAT produce. It doesn’t matter how big or small you win it. win is a win,

    ” The Spurs, of course, were seconds away from beating the Heat last year. And several members of the Miami rotation have regressed since then.”

    Did the SPURS win that series??? What a lame writer, you should be on TMZ, you don’t belong in the NBA, you don’t know what you are talking about….

  85. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Are you blind?

  86. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Year right, you’re the only who thinks that

  87. Jefrey Landicho says:

    Year right, you’re the only who thinks that

  88. Average Joe says:

    It’s just one game, John. In a series which is a long way away from the Finals. Every series is different from the other and this series is no exception. The matchups and everything are different. The Heat’s chances of winning it all are like the rest of the survivors of the playoffs, which as of now is one in eight.

    • Average Joe says:

      Case in point, the Pacers. They struggled throughout their series with Atlanta. Many of us even thought they wouldn’t get out of the first round, myself included. But right now they are dominating the Wiz in their match up. I rest my case.

  89. Yusa says:

    Seriously? Give the champs credit for becoming champions for few years now. Every now and then people like you guys doubting the Miami Heat. For god sake they went to the finals 3 years in a row and won 2 title. I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing right now. Chances are getting slimmer? Freaking bias opinion. If ever they have the highest percentage of winning the title this year base on their performance since the big 3 era.

  90. Greg P says:

    Now that we’re getting to the last couple of rounds, team rotations are going to shrink naturally (unless you’re the Spurs) so I’m not really worried about the supporting cast’s scoring output. They know they’re role and its not necessarily about getting buckets. Wade and Bosh had efficient games and they know that when LeBron is attacking, they need to facilitate by drawing the defence away and making his job easier. And on a side note: LeBron didn’t hit the game-winning dagger. Bosh did.

  91. brolo says:

    I want heat to win, and I think they will, but it does make some sense. However, we have yet to see the full potential of the supporting cast, something that was not revealed in the first couple rounds of the other runs as well

  92. Ryde says:

    Too early to count the Heat out… As they have a saying also in boxing, styles make fights. The Heat struggle against the Nets but that doesn’t necessarily mean that because of their performance in this series, they would struggle against the Spurs or Clippers… Let’s wait and see.
    All I can say is to never underestimate the heart of a champion.

  93. evangorp says:

    The Finals?!
    If they even make it to the Finals.
    The Pacers will be the Heat!

  94. Pepe says:

    Too early to tell. Different game plans for different opponents.

  95. Bryan from Pines says:

    Yes quite hard but we will believe in James and the crew…

    They will still able able to find out how to win games.

  96. ism says:

    1. What sinful words did james say to spoelstra in the huddle?

    2. “Abundantly clear” that James needs a new supporting cast? Title chances fading??? Wow, those are big words I would have read this article without the hyperbole. Miami is still the team to beat. Miami was already old last year. And Miami has been an improbable team from the get-go with their rebounding deficiency and so on. but they can still make it happen and get the job done. Miami has now lost one game in the whole playoffs and rebounded well from their only loss. They have been an elite, if not the best team against the western conference during the regular season. I don’t really understand what you have to back up your tentative “Miami’s decline”-theory. That it was a close win? Well, most playoff wins are close. And the obvious change coming in the postseason is not what I see reflected on the court.

    Spurs – Miami will be a great Finals, again, let’s see if the Spurs can get it done this year…

  97. Faba says:

    @john B: “B” stands for Bandwagoner ?

  98. Rhumz says:

    The true MVP…3 peat here we come!!!GO HEAT!!!^^

  99. Ricky says:

    Stop overreacting off one game, the Heat still have the best shot at winning the championship again. The Heat was one of the only teams in the east that had a winning record against the west. The styles are different, the western conference playoffs are always like a unpredictable roller coaster. The only team that can beat the Heat is the Heat.

  100. king_surla says:

    slimmer? and so is spurs and indiana with all the inconsistent games. Spurs in 7 games against mavs? When they shouldve swept them indiana barely surviving atlanta and okc with russell hogbrook… nah no 2 man team can bit a system, george is immature and shaky. The only team that can contend with mia is spurs… I say spurs and miami rematch this year.

  101. manstrr says:

    Hi Hateeeeeer, no one can beat the heat this year, remember i said that

  102. JOHN B says:

    HATER! Heat for 3 Peat! :)

    • ermes says:

      My thoughts exactly the writer tried not making it sound bias but it really was since the get go I knew he was trying to take away the Heats obvious 3 peat The heat are the favorite to win FYI but our haters grow larger in numbers. Look one is writing this blog.

    • let's go heat says:

      gogogo!

      • MIAMI FAN says:

        THIS IS VERY FUNNY. Every-time some people say that Miami is not going to win. But when they do, they say, ”we knew it Miami is the best and unbeatable team in NBA”. All what i know is that Miami is going to win again and again.No team can beat MIAMI. GO MIAMI GO!!!!! WE HAVE FAITH IN YOU.