The Miami Heat are currently down in the series, 1-0, against the Los Angeles Lakers. It seemed to get worse and worse for Miami after game one, since Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo are both doubtful for game two. Here’s what must happen for Miami to get a huge win in game two…
#1: Rookie experience turns into rookie production.
It’s not normal for a team to look towards two rookies in the NBA finals to take the offensive load, but that’s exactly what Miami will do. For starters, it’s clear that Tyler Herro doesn’t shy away from big moments, even though he struggled a bit in game one. He even told media, “I don’t think there is much pressure,” which further proves he’s ready for this. Tyler won’t be the only rookie depended on in game two, since Kendrick Nunn will be getting his number called as well. He’s been the big talk around this team recently, since he showed up big in the second half of game one, and will be back in the rotation for Goran Dragic. Kendrick relies solely on confidence, and now he seems as confident as ever heading into tonight’s game. Tyler and Kendrick will need to grow up quick, since they will not be looked at as rookies anymore. Instead, they are the keys to the offense.
#2: The Justice Winslow trade assets show up big with increased minutes.
Miami acquired Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, and Soloman Hill in a trade for Justice Winslow at the trade deadline, and it has clearly payed off. Now, it will need to prove so once again, since they will be getting increased minutes due to Miami’s injuries. Miami will need all of them to show up at their absolute best, Jae Crowder with his shooting, Andre Iguodala with his leadership and impact, and Soloman Hill with his defensive presence. It’s no longer about stars winning them these games. Now, it’s about role players playing to the best of their abilities. This is where the Heat culture will be on display. The grit, scrappiness, and intensity will need to shine in game two, and that will start with Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, and Soloman Hill.
#3: Jimmy Butler takes over the game, doing it for the injured Goran Dragic.
Even though many believe Miami is losing hope in winning this NBA finals, Jimmy Butler “begs to differ.” Even with Goran Dragic out, he told media “He’s carried us to this point. It’s only right we pay that back to him now.” And that’s exactly what he will need to do. He was hunting to score the ball in game one right out of the gate, which is what will be needed again in game two. He’s clearly capable of doing so, but he constantly says when he gets others around him going, it translates to wins. The only difference is that usually when they go through tough stretches, Goran would take initiative to get a bucket and get them out of it. Now that responsibility is on Jimmy Butler. If he plays at peak Jimmy Butler levels, Miami can win this game, and it’ll all be for the injured Goran Dragic.