It would be a mistake to take away too much from this game. As noted in the comments to the last thread, this was a predictable blowout for the Heat. Must win for them, meaningless game for the Spurs.
I did note a few interesting developments:
1) I’ve been harping on the need to double team Tony Parker. The Heat took that much more seriously in this game than the last. The result: 13 points on 5-13. As many turnovers as assists: 5.
84 points for the Spurs as a team. 16 TOs, as opposed to 4 the last game.
The Spurs cannot run offense when Parker is doubled. Manu Ginobili is dead, and there is no one else who can initiate.
2) Dwayne Wade is dead too. Danny Green lit him up in the first half, because Wade is now too slow to both fulfill his obligations in the lane, and recover to guard the three. Spoelstra adjusted at half time, putting Lebron on Green, and shifting Wade to Kawhi Leonard. Leonard then immediately lit Wade up, hitting an open three, and overpowering him on a layup And One in the lane.
This is what it’s come to. The once all-world defender has to be hidden on defense. Because of his knee injury, he is the worst defender on the floor. The Heat’s defense improved immediately when Wade left the floor in the third quarter.
He’s also killing the Heat on offense. He’s no longer fast enough to create separation on the fast-break, no longer the finisher he was. And in the half-court, those mid-range jump shots he’s getting are the least efficient offense the Heat can run. He got 0 points in the second half before getting benched.
Can the Heat win on the road with Wade in this condition? I think we can expect him to get weaker as the series progresses.
Is Erik Spoelstra strong enough to bench Wade in crunch time? He may have to be, because it looks to me like the Heat are a better team without him.
3) Mario Chalmers is certainly a much better player without Wade on the floor. Chalmers had a terrific Finals last year, but in the regular season this year, he once again had to play third fiddle to LeBron and Wade, both of whom are ball-dominant.
Chalmers showed in this game that he might be an answer on offense for the Heat. He and Lebron James ran a very efficient pick and roll in the third quarter that led to the Heat’s offensive explosion.
Chalmers’ ability to get into the lane and finish is troublesome for the Spurs. They really struggle against penetrating point guards.