Well game 1 could not have gone worse for the Heat, but no matter if you lose by 1 or by 26, a loss is just a loss. The goal for the Heat was to split the series in Atlanta at one game a piece so that they can go back to Miami with home court advantage. After such a blowout, the question remains is it still possible for this to happen, and I think so. There is no way after watching the whole season, that Atlanta is 26 points better than Miami on a nightly basis. These teams are much more evenly matched than that score would have you believe, but for this to play out Dwayne Wade is going to need a lot more help from everyone than he got the other night. With the Hawks throwing their whole team at Wade, it was no surprise that he struggled to get it going in game 1. Only one other player on the team scored in double figures, which is inexcusable. Michael Beasley, who had been playing great down the stretch, looked like a rookie all night. From his playfulness in warmups to his poor shot attempts during the game, he screamed no playoff experience. The Heat needs him to get his head on straight if they are going to have a chance in this series, cause he is the only one who can compete with the highly athletic front court of the Hawks. Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford put a punishing on the Heat's big men, even Zaza Pachulia even got in the act finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. That was exactly the stat line we got from our second best player, and they got it from their second string center.
Things can only get better from this first game, right? You have to believe Wade will find a way to make things happen tonight. For this to happen, he is going to need one of the teams shooters to start making shots, so he can get some looks of his own without 3 defenders in his face. The Heat is not nearly as athletic as the Hawks, but if they can make their jumpers, they can keep the Hawks from getting out in transition so much. Nothing gets a fastbreak kickstarted than long rebounds. Another way to keep the Hawks out of transition would be for Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal to attack the boards. They finished with 7 rebounds combined. I am tired of O'Neal complaining about lack of touches, when he is providing nothing else on the court. Hit the boards, play tough D, and I guarantee the team is going to reward you with some touches inside.
Game 1 showed us that this Heat team was not quite ready for primetime, but 2 days off should have them with their heads back on straight. A butt kicking will do that to you, and it was a thorough butt kicking they received on Sunday. Have a little faith in Dwayne Wade Heat fans, the guy is truly one of the 5 best players in the NBA, because he never goes down without fight. Expect a battle tonight!