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LeBron Steps Up, Free-Throw Factors & More

LeBron James is an amazing athlete and person. And like I said in my last blog, I think the criticism of him after Game 1 was unwarranted. But does he really need any more motivation to be great?

Great players shine in great moments. From Tiger Woods to Michael Jordan, you see that in the history of all sports. The greats of the greats come up with spectacular performances that exceed expectations. And what LeBron did last night – especially once he started getting in a flow and building his confidence in the first quarter – was really breathtaking to watch.

Miami played great basketball. Bosh was a factor, which he has to be. The Big 3 have to be the Big 3. Between them, they had 67 points. Match that against the final score (98) and it shows you how those guys have to play great basketball every night.

There is no substitution for chemistry. It's a really wicked stat. Both teams have great chemistry, and there's a reason these two teams are in the Finals. It's like watching a chess match; that's what I got out of last night's game. It's almost like watching Bobby Fischer play chess...two high IQ teams playing chess with a basketball.

In Game 1, Miami had trouble handling the pick and roll, but you can't do the same thing over and over against San Antonio because they get comfortable. So Miami switched it up – they switched screen rolls, they blitzed screen rolls and their second-line rotations were much better. They made the adjustments, and that's one of the things I've enjoyed most...seeing those guys make subtle differences and execute on it. And a lot of credit goes to both coaching staffs.

Now it's time for San Antonio to make their changes. In Game 2, LeBron and Dwyane were guarding Tony Parker. So let's see what Coach Popovich does. The film doesn't lie. For a player, watching film is either the best of times or worst of times. If a player continues to screw up and coach keeps showing the same film, it's the kiss of death to keep watching your mistakes. But when you're playing well, it's totally different. And by the way, as a coach, you always end your film sessions on a positive note. You show your team the positive things they did well so it sticks in their memory bank. Now is not the time to beat down your players, and nobody knows this more than Popovich or Spoelstra.

I said in my first blog that this series would come down to foul shooting. I compared Kobe to LeBron early in his career. Well, once again, free-throw shooting was a major factor. Late in the game, Tony Parker gets fouled and it's flagrant. He misses both shots and gets the ball back. Duncan then gets fouled and he misses both shots. Do the math. You lose by 2 and you missed 4 free-throw shots in the stretch. That's the difference maker, and I wonder if that's in the back of the Spurs' minds.

And that's taking nothing away from how well Miami played. They had their best player on the floor and had a total team game.

I can't wait for Miami. Sun, fun and Finals adjustments!

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