On Monday night the Miami Heat will look to steal game four on the Boston Celtics' home court. The task will not be easy, but Miami understands the importance of going back home with a three games to one lead as opposed to the series being knotted up at two games a piece.
If the Heat are going to come out with a win, there are several things that must happen.
LeBron James Must Step Up
On Saturday night, Heat forward LeBron James looked nothing like the player he looked like in the first two games of the series. James added just 15 points and struggled to connect on wide open looks and shots close to the rim.
He wasn't shut down by any tremendous defensive effort on the Celtics' part, he simply beat himself with below average play.
Miami will need to see a much better performance out of its superstar small forward in order to have the best chance of winning game four. Look for James to attack the rim early and often.
Chris Bosh Must Be More Aggressive
Another weak link for the Heat in Saturday night's loss was that of forward Chris Bosh. Bosh had one of his horribly off nights when nothing seems to go right. He appeared out of sync on both sides of the ball and didn't look to be mentally in the game.
Bosh shot just 1-6 from the field and collected a measley five boards. That was the lowest total of any of Miami's big three in the rebounding category. And with the salary he's making, that's unacceptable.
Having an off night offensively is understandable as everyone is human. However, gathering just five boards shows a lack of will and effort. It is essential to Miami's success that Bosh comes out with a completely different mindset in game four.
Heat Must Stand Their Ground
There has already been a slew of intense moments over the first three games of this series, so there's no reason to think that game four won't be as heated or perhaps even more heated than the first three.
Especially after Celtics' point guard Rajon Rondo's gruesome injury after getting tangled up with Dwyane Wade.
The Heat must expect Boston to be overly physical, but they cannot allow themselves to be bullied. They will need to stand their ground and continue to play their style of basketball at all costs.
Miami Must Start Strong
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the postseason so far for Heat fans has been the inability of Miami's starting lineup to execute and score. It hasn't only been this series against Boston, but also against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round as well.
Zyrdrunas Ilgauskas has been largely ineffective as has Mike Bibby. Not many are sure as to why Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is set on remaining with this lineup, but many feel that we are likely to see changes on Monday night.
Joel Anthony has certainly proved that he can be more than effective when given the shot and Mario Chalmers has also shown that he is ready and willing to step up in big moments. If it were up to me, those two would be getting the start.
Regardless of whether or not changes are made, the Heat truly cannot afford to fall behind early in this game. With the momentum already swinging Boston's way after game three, this game could easily get out of hand early if Miami isn't careful.
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