OKLAHOMA CITY – The good news for Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat: They don’t expect many distractions in the Sooner State as they prepare for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
"There is not a lot of exciting things going on out here," Wade said.
That should give the Heat plenty of time to ponder what adjustments they need to make after losing the Finals opener. And for Wade, specifically, what he needs to do after a substandard performance in which he missed 12 of 19 shots in Game 1.
Wade admits he doesn’t have the same bounce in his step as he did six years ago when he won his only title and was named MVP of the 2006 Finals. But after watching Wade struggle to beat 37-year-old Thunder guard Derek Fisher to the basket during one second-half play, there's certainly reason to wonder whether Wade is hurt or tired.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade is fine. Wade also disputed whether he's taken a major step back.
“One day it will happen," he said. "Father Time will knock on the door. But not right now."
Another big question facing the Heat: Will Chris Bosh finally return to the starting lineup?
Bosh missed nine playoff games with a lower abdominal strain before returning for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. He's come off the bench in each of his four games since returning and had 10 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes of Game 1 in the Finals.
“The playoffs are about survival, it really is,” Spoelstra said. “So when Chris Bosh went out – I mentioned this at the time – and I told him, ‘Hey Chris, I love you,’ but I didn’t want the video guys to put any clips of him involved in anything that we were doing. I don’t want to even see him on the court when I was watching. And we had to reinvent ourselves. That’s the reality of the playoffs.”
Spoelstra said he could increase Bosh’s minutes in Game 2, but wasn’t certain about putting him back in the starting lineup.
"It’s more important how he’s playing and where we put him in positions where he can be aggressive," Spoelstra said.
Spoelstra added that he will probably go a little deeper on the bench. Only six Heat players received legitimate minutes in Game 1. James Jones missed the game with migraines.
The bad news for Wade and Miami is the Thunder believe they can also play a lot better. The Thunder admitted to being a little nervous in the first half before they took control of the game in the third and fourth quarters.
“We definitely have more to give,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said. “I just think we can start off the game playing a lot harder defensively. And I think if we start the game off playing a lot harder you can see what this team can bring to the table and what we can do in a 48-minute game.”
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