With the number of stars involved in these NBA Finals, game-to-game adjustments are much more important than one team using a tried and true strategy to win it all.
And the Miami Heat may have figured out how to neutralize Oklahoma City Thunder shot blocking machine Serge Ibaka late in Thursday night’s Game 2.
Watch as Dwyane Wade penetrates in the lane and uses Ibaka’s aggressive nature as a great help defender against him to feed Chris Bosh for an easy dunk (via Ball Don’t Lie):
Prior to that adjustment by Wade, and Heat coach Eric Spoelstra calling the LeBron James screen-based play, Ibaka had terrorized Miami for five blocks. But all five of the blocks came on one-on-one situations where Ibaka was able to block the shot straight up or shots in which he came from behind to finish the job.
Two things are at work here:
- For as many strides as Ibaka made this year he’s still a very raw player prone to go for the highlight-worthy swat over staying with his man, but…
- Ibaka was also in a lose-lose situation. The small lineup Miami keeps using means Kevin Durant can’t move into the lane for extra help on the other end in case Wade goes straight up instead of dumping it off to Bosh. If KD helps on that play, Wade can find Shane Battier for the open three.
Miami won’t start running this play ad nauseam, but it presents yet another challenge for OKC going into Game 3 Sunday.
Stopping the Heat is hard enough without losing your biggest defensive insurance card.
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