Can Mi­ami turn around for­tunes tonight?

Mi­ami must pres­sure and take back mo­men­tum

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Ira Win­der­man Staff writer

PHILADEL­PHIA — The flip side of get­ting blown out in the open­ing game of an NBA play­off se­ries is it cre­ates the full menu of po­ten­tial reme­dies.

So all the Mi­ami Heat be­lieve they need to do to off­set Satur­day’s 130-103 loss to the Philadel­phia 76ers is to en­ter tonight’s Game 2 at Wells Fargo Cen­ter pre­pared to play stronger, harder, faster, bet­ter and, oh, smarter.

“We have to get into that dog­fight a lit­tle bit more,” for­ward Josh Richard­son said af­ter Sun­day’s prac­tice at Tem­ple Univer­sity, “but we still have to use our brains bet­ter.” And their brawn. “They won the re­bound­ing bat­tle, they won the turnover bat­tle and some­times it can be as sim­ple as those things,” coach Erik Spoel­stra said, em­pha­siz­ing at­ti­tude as much as ap­ti­tude, go­ing as far as to ref­er­ence the need to con­trol “the line of scrim­mage.”

The last­ing im­ages of Game 1 are of J.J. Redick, Marco Be­linelli, Dario Saric and Er­san Ilyasova cel­e­brat­ing the 76ers’ 18 3-point­ers.

“We have to get into that dog­fight a lit­tle bit more, but we still have to use our brains bet­ter.” Josh Richard­son

But when Spoel­stra crunched his numbers, he found an al­ter­nate re­al­ity.

“Ev­ery­body re­mem­bers the tough catch-and-shoot jumpers that Redick and Be­linelli and even Ilyasova, to some ex­tent, were mak­ing,” Spoel­stra said. “We have to try to do bet­ter with those.

“But the easy bas­kets, they also got, and those are the back-break­ers, off of cuts, off of rip screens, cross screens, and the of­fen­sive re­bound­ing. Basically 20 points off of that, 17 or 18 on cuts, and add an­other 20 plus off turnovers. It’s tough to over­come all of that.”

Es­sen­tially, even at this in­fancy of this best-of-seven open­ing-round se­ries, Spoel­stra said it is time to make a stand.

“The things we do well,” he said, “they have to feel those things more, just as we felt what Philly does well with their move­ment, their catch-and-shoot play­ers. We felt ev­ery bit of what they do.”

But Spoel­stra also cau­tioned about the per­ceived weight of the mo­ment.

“We’re not happy about the game, nor should we be, none of us, play­ers or staff,” he said of the se­ries opener. “But that’s one loss. We crawl out of this sit­ting with a one-point win and it’s all the same.”

Guard Go­ran Dragic said Satur­day’s sec­ond-half col­lapse was a mi­cro­cosm of the game, the in­abil­ity to sus­tain even on a pos­ses­sion-by-pos­ses­sion ba­sis.

“We need to run ac­tion with pur­pose, not just to have one pick-and-roll and then the ball stops,” he said. “We need to play both ways a lit­tle bit smarter.” The video was telling. “We were let­ting them dic­tate ev­ery­where they wanted to go,” Richard­son said.

That, Dwyane Wade said, makes it about more than schemat­ics.

“When you lose, you can pin­point a lot of things,” Wade said. “Ev­ery­thing goes wrong when you lose a ball­game. I think ul­ti­mately we’ve just got to play with more force. I felt we all felt we kind of were lay­ing back a lit­tle bit.

“We’ve just got to pick up our pres­sure, pickup our in­ten­sity. If they’re go­ing to make those kind of shots, let’s have them make it with us be­ing a lit­tle more ag­gres­sive. They got ev­ery­thing they wanted with­out us be­ing ag­gres­sive.”

For the Heat, Satur­day was al­most an awak­en­ing to what the 76ers have been in the in­jury ab­sence of cen­ter Joel Em­biid, with Wade speak­ing as if the Heat had some­how fallen into a se­ries against the War­riors.

“They’re not go­ing to just let you stop them from do­ing one thing,” he said. “That’s what makes them a dif­fer­ent group. That’s what made Golden State great for all these years, they had other things to go to when peo­ple were just wor­ried about the three. Their abil­ity to back cut, have mul­ti­ple screens, bring dif­fer­ent things to the game, it’s what makes them very good.

“But, ul­ti­mately, they’re beat­able, just like ev­ery other team. We just have to fig­ure it out. We had one game to try it. It didn’t work. Now we’ve got an­other game to try it on their home floor and we’ll see how that works.”


Philadel­phia’s Marco Be­linelli con­trib­uted to his team’s record num­ber of 3-point­ers in Game 1, in­clud­ing this one over Go­ran Dragic, left, and Jus­tise Winslow, cen­ter.

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