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Friday, October 18, 2019

Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Mike Miller key Miami Heat win

Mario Chalmers BirdmanThe Miami Heat’s Big Three get most of the attention on the team, but it was actually the role players who led the Heat to a 103-84 win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

The Heat went on a 30-5 run from the 3:11 mark in the third quarter to the 7:13 mark in the fourth quarter, turning what was a 64-62 game into a 94-67 lead. The run started when Birdman entered the game for Chris Bosh and Ray Allen subbed in for Dwyane Wade. The lineup of Allen, Birdman, Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers and LeBron James then went on a 22-5 run together.

Chalmers, who struggled against Tony Parker in a Game 1 loss, turned the tables on the Spurs point guard. He drove and shot his way to a team-high 19 points. He went 6-for-12 from the field including 2-of-4 on threes, and he made all five of his free throws.

Allen took advantage of the Spurs’ defense collapsing around James for the second straight game. He was 5-for-8 from the field and made three of five 3-pointers to give him 13 points. Allen went 3-for-4 on threes in Game 1, putting him at 66% from long range in the Finals.

Miller continued to see minutes in place of Shane Battier, who only played five minutes, and he provided Miami a boost. Miller made all three 3-pointers he attempted, giving him nine points in 16 minutes.

Miami’s biggest problem in their Game 1 loss to the Spurs last Thursday was their poor 3-point shooting. The Spurs packing the paint to keep LeBron on the outside led Miami to bomb threes the entire game. They went 8-for-25 (32%) on threes in Game 1 (the 25 3-point shots was their second-highest amount of the postseason). Not only did the Heat cut down on the copious amount of 3-point attempts in Game 2, but they also increased their percentage. The Heat shot 10-for-19 (52.6%) on threes in Game 2, which even topped the Spurs, who started off the game hot and made 10 of 20 threes.

The Spurs are forcing the Heat to play outside and make the role players beat them. The strategy worked in Game 1, but not Game 2. I figure as long as the Heat shoot over 36% on threes in a given game, they’ll probably win. If they can make over 50% in a game, then it will turn into a laugher as this one did.

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