Stop me if you heard this one before.
The Miami Heat started out with a lack of energy, no sense of urgency and poor defense. And LeBron James wasn’t just coasting — he looked out of sorts, mishandling the ball and bricking shots.
Wait, that’s a semi-new complaint. That couldn’t be the same James who sat on the media day podium and dared the San Antonio Spurs to play him like they did in 2007.
“I’m a better player,” he said before Game 1. “You can’t dare me to do anything I don’t want to do in 2013.”
Apparently James was wrong, because that’s exactly what the Spurs did.
They stayed determined not to let James and Dwyane Wade into the paint, while the only person that wasn’t shy about shooting–Chris Bosh–couldn’t buy a shot. So they backed off of them, packed the lane and challenged them to take 15-footers that they were hesitant to take.
That must have been the return of the bad basketball karma Erik Spoelstra chirped about.
“Well, we got what we deserved tonight,” Heat coach Spoelstra said via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We never got to our game. We were playing from behind virtually from the start.”
But wait it gets worse.
Miami’s defense was unrecognizable compared to Game 2. They couldn’t get their heads wrapped around actually guarding Danny Green or Gary Neal behind the three-point line. And the Spurs took full advantage of their lack of focus.
I’m pretty sure I even saw Wade turn his head and let them run to the corners unguarded. It was more annoying than watching Bill Simmons at halftime.
Miami seemed to be trying their hardest to prove that their poor rotations and slow starts against the Indiana Pacers could be more detrimental against a smart team like the Spurs — 36 points worse.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.