LeBron James was reason 1 through 100 why the Heat won Thursday night, but strategic moves also paid dividends in Game 6.
Instead of fronting Kevin Garnett, the Heat played him more from behind, with more frequent double-teams.
That mostly eliminated the easy lobs that tormented the Heat in the previous three games.
We just tried to give him a lot of different looks, Udonis Haslem said.
With Chris Bosh able to play more, the Heat could pair Bosh and Haslem together for 12 minutes.
When we play with size, were more physical, coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Bosh and Haslem did good work against Garnett.
And Garnett was off on his jump shot, shooting 1 for 6 from outside the paint.
In another change, Spoelstra had Dwyane Wade defend Rajon Rondo at the start of both halves, instead of Mario Chalmers.
Not only did Rondo shoot 2 for 7 and score just six points when Wade was defending him, but he didnt get to the basket against Wade, who gave him a cushion on jump shots.
According to ESPNs Stats and Information department, Rondos seven shots against Wade were 13.6 feet away from the basket, on average, with none inside of five feet.
Rondo was 6 for 7 against other Heat defenders (15 points).
But his average shot distance was 4.6 feet on those attempts.
Spoelstra on Friday was reluctant to discuss the defensive changes on Garnett and Rondo, saying only, Whatever it takes. There are adjustments on both sides. That doesnt necessarily mean thats the way it will go [Saturday night].
Well have to read the game. Rondo will be very aggressive. [Chalmers] had a tougher assignment of chasing Ray Allen to our help all night.
Meanwhile, ESPN analyst Magic Johnson said following the Game 6 win, Spoelstra did something great. He got both of his superstars on the move. LeBron never took two straight shots the same.
THIS AND THAT
Even though the players were off Friday, Spoelstra noted that Bosh came to AmericanAirlines Arena for a workout.
That says a lot about him that he knows he needs to gain his rhythm and get closer to the form he was playing [at] at the end of the year, which was his best basketball, Spoelstra said. We dont need him to play at that level to win. He gave us excellent minutes at both ends.
Bosh said playing through any lingering effects of his abdominal strain is all in the mind. No matter how I feel, I give my minutes. Play as hard as I can, just worry about everything after the game.
• Bosh admitted: Before, we didnt have the same urgency we did [in Game 6]. If we gave that effort every time we step on the court, were going to be a tough team to beat.
• The Heat did not celebrate Thursdays win because, as Shane Battier said, If were jumping around like a bunch of frat boys, then were not doing any service to our team for Game 7.
• The 8.2 major-market rating for Thursdays game was the highest for an NBA playoff game on cable, with records dating to 2003.
Game 4 of this series now ranks second on the all-time cable list.
In Miami-Fort Lauderdale, 22 percent of homes with TV sets were tuned in well below South Floridas 33.7 average rating for the NBA Finals last season. But the Finals games were on ABC; these games are on ESPN, which is not available in 6.4 percent of South Florida homes.
• Asked about Western Conference champion Oklahoma City, Spoelstra said, With all due respect, next question.
• The home team is 88-22 all-time in seventh games of NBA playoff series.
We fought and earned the right to have this on our home court, Spoelstra said.
But we dont assume that will take care of everything.