Sunday, June 17, 2012

Talking Heat with Surya Fernandez of Peninsula is Mightier.

Surya Fernandez is one of the best Heat bloggers around, he was kind enough to let me ask him some questions regarding the finals match up and his thoughts after the first two games.  He's part of a Heat blog, you can read it here. 

What were the two main things the Heat did differently in game 2 to get the 100-96 win?  

They attacked the basket relentlessly at the start of the game to race out to a big lead and that took out the crowd and put the pressure on the Thunder to defend their home court. The second factor, even more importantly, was that they responded to every run the Thunder made and did just enough to give them enough of a cushion to hold on for the tight victory.

The Heat stole a game in OKC, that was a must. Now, how'd you feel about their chances on winning the finals?  

I thought the Spurs were going to be the tougher matchup, primarily because of their depth and the fact that I didn't see anyone on the Heat being able to contain Tim Duncan. So I always thought the Heat would be better off against the Thunder. I picked the Heat in 7 but now with this crucial win and the fact that they now have home court advantage, which is negated somewhat by the 2-3-2 Finals format, I can see them winning at least 2 of the next 3 games at home and that would give them two chances in Oklahoma City to get their rings.

After watching OKC in the finals so far, are you impressed with any of their players in particular? How has your view of OKC changed (for better or worse) after seeing them up close against your team? 

I've seen them play better in the past honestly. Besides Durant, who is a freak of nature and is virtually unstoppable with that high release, I really haven't been impressed with anyone on the roster. Which is not to say they've been playing horribly or anything, but no one has risen up and played beyond their abilities. That's what you need to win the Finals and I haven't seen a role player step up and have a huge game for them (like Battier has done for Miami). Russell Westbrook in particular has been a disappointment with his poor shot selection and he's not letting his game flow naturally within the course of the game, he's forcing things. Even James Harden has been spectacular at times and yet during other times, like the second half of Game 2, he's been a non-factor.

Before game 2 started i thought Miami could use a starting lineup of Haslem/Bosh/James/Wade/Chalmers, the main reason was to force Durant or Westbrook to defend James or Wade from the beginning, thoughts on the lineup? 

Haslem and Bosh on the court for whatever reason aren't as effective together as you might think so I was fine with Battier continuing to start. Their rebounding rates go down when they're playing together. Which is not to say they should never play together but it's not the optimal starting lineup. Of course with Battier's hot shooting, especially at the start of both games in the Finals, it has made Erik Spoelstra look like a genius. Since the Thunder do not enjoy a clear height advantage, the Heat can afford to not play their bigs much (which is a good thing) so you can still give big minutes to Haslem off the bench anyway and let him crash the boards freely. 

Shane Battier has been absolutely huge for Miami in the finals, thoughts on his great play?  

He's finally playing the way the Heat envisioned he could help the team when they quickly signed him in the offseason last year. Okay, maybe they didn't expect him to be THIS good beyond the arc but it was crucial to get a defensive swingman who can guard multiple positions and be deadly from long distance to stretch the defense. Plus, it means the Heat can stop relying heavily on a hobbled Mike Miller who really shouldn't be playing anymore in this series. Battier couldn't have picked a better time to get red-hot with his shooting so I'd say that signing was a wise choice. 

Follow me on Twitter @JohnnyNBA and Like us on Facebook. Follow Surya Fernandez on Twitter  @SuryaHeatNBA  & read his blog. 

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