Yahoo Sports NBA writer Vince Goodwill is joined by Jake Fischer on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast to talk about the Heat’s win over the Nuggets in Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Finals, and discuss if Miami found a sustainable offensive system that could give them a chance to win the series against Denver.
VINCENT GOODWILL: This is another game where the Heat shooters, they've shot well in three of the last four games, and now you go home. They've [INAUDIBLE] four of six from 3, 23 points. Max Strus, after going full John Starks in game 1, comes back and hits three 3's in the first quarter, four of 10. Duncan Robinson, the huge fourth quarter. Jake, have they found something offensively? Did they find something, or was this just a one-game blip?
JAKE FISCHER: So I feel like against Boston, Caleb Martin's effectiveness getting to the basket was a huge elemental feature of Miami's offense. But that element of Kevin Love either just head faking and shooting or swinging the ball and having it, it just adds a little bit more of a velocity to the pace of that offense that I think picks up again when Kyle Lowry is your first sub off the bench here, which I made note of that because all playoffs, when Lowry comes off the bench, he is immediately trying to increase the pace of things.
And with Caleb Martin having an illness and not being the sixth man, because usually that was the first sub with Kevin Love going to the bench and Caleb coming in, now it was Kyle Lowry. So you had that greater space. You had that more, you know, zip when Kyle comes in. I felt like that rhythm to things carried over throughout the whole game that maybe wasn't there previously.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Well, you have two good screeners in Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo. You need solid screeners when you need to spring those guys. When you have Jimmy probing and sometimes passing up shots to kick out to shooters, it messes up-- it junks up the game defensively because it throws your rhythm off. And this series got very ugly very quickly. Normally, the first two games, it's a little more free flowing, right? And then you wind up going into a full-blown ugly dance in the mud by game 4.
We're here in game 2, and if there was one team, Jake, that's equipped to handle playing in the mud, it's the Miami Heat. They feel comfortable there. And Erik Spoelstra said something during his postgame. He said, we've played 56 close games this year. And I'm not sure what metric, if that's determined by--
JAKE FISCHER: I think that means games within the last five minutes that have been--
VINCENT GOODWILL: It's like 5 points or less, that type of thing. So what they lose in talent, or at least in top line talent, you gain in experience of what Spo basically termed it as, we had a lot of pain this year. We lost a lot of games that we shouldn't have. And it's not like we know how to lose. I don't think it's one of those things. But I do think they've reached the point, Jake, where they're not going to beat themselves.