LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were fully focused and ready to go. James led the way with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists as he shot 10-15 from the field. Wade scored 14 points, dished out five assists and grabbed four boards while shooting 7-13. Bosh recorded 15 points, 11 rebounds and three assists as he connected on five of his 11 shot attempts from the field and four out of his five free throw attempts.
The stars also received help from their supporting cast. Ray Allen came off the bench to score 19 points, grab four rebounds and dish out three assists. Mario Chalmers scored 12 points on five of nine shooting. Chris "Birdman" Andersen was a force defensively with four blocked shots despite playing just 16 minutes off the bench.
As for Brooklyn, only Deron Williams and Joe Johnson had good games offensively. Each finished with 17 points and the duo combined to shoot 14-21 from the field while hitting on six off 11 tries from long range. The only other Nets player to score in double figures was Marcus Thornton, who finished with 11 points, mostly coming in garbage time in the fourth quarter. They will undoubtedly need to at least replicate their performances if the Nets hope to win Game Two.
Nets head coach Jason Kidd and his staff will need to make several adjustments as they prepare for Game Two. Brooklyn finished with just 11 assists as a team. The Nets will have to improve the ball movement and spacing as they are facing a fast and athletic Heat defensive. Too often in Game One the Nets were having difficulty creating their own looks.
Kidd will need find a way to get Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett going in the next contest. The Nets will have difficulty if Pierce and Garnett simply replicate their Game One performances. Pierce scored just eight points as he hit three of his eight field goal attempts and did not get to the free throw line at all. Garnett struggled to get involved in the offense as he only attempted and missed each of his two field goals. Garnett finished the game with zero points and just four rebounds.
One way to increase the offensive output would be for the Nets to focus on exploiting the slower Shane Battier and Allen. While each player has a high basketball IQ, neither player has the defensive capabilities that they once had. Each Nets perimeter player has the ability to beat these two off the dribble.
Stopping Miami on the defensive end will be no easy task. Just about every play goes through the hands of James and when that isn't the case then it's usually because it goes through Wade. The Nets ran a variety of defenders at James as they tried to continuously give him different looks. Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Pierce and Andrei Kirilenko were among those that were matched up with James.
The Nets' players will likely have to stay at bay when defending Wade, Bosh and James and focus on completing shutting down their teammates. It's difficult to do that, however, because James puts so much pressure on the defense with his court vision and his ability to do practically anything he wants to on the court. Despite that, the Heat look locked in and focused and this may be the Nets best bet.
In addition, the Nets could try getting physical with the Heat. It is unlikely that physicality will completely bother the two-time defending champs but that could slow down the game for the Nets. If the Heat are able to continuously get out in transition, the Nets do not stand a chance.
Brooklyn was romped in Game One of this series. The beauty of the NBA Playoffs is that one game does not spell the end for a team. The Nets will have a chance to even up the series on Thursday night in Miami.
They will need to make several adjustments to do so.
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