MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat stand just two victories away from placing another NBA Championship banner in the rafters of the AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat know the final two wins will be the hardest of the season, but also know that style points don’t matter at this point.
“I don’t give a damn how we get 4 (wins),” Heat forward LeBron James said. “We could win 32-31, it don’t matter to me. We understand we can win any type of game. We can win a gritty game. We can win a high-paced game. I don’t care how we get 4.”
LeBron’s play in the playoffs has been the driving force to get the Heat to the cusp of a championship. In the Finals, LeBron is averaging better than 30 points and more than 10 rebounds per game.
“He’s made some big plays on both ends of the court,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “When he attacks, he has the ability to draw sometimes upwards of double-digit fouls on the opponent.”
LeBron said he had to change his mindset in the playoffs after Chris Bosh went down with an injury. LeBron said he changed both offensively and defensively to get more rebounds and defend better. Now with Bosh back in the lineup, LeBron is free to challenge the defense.
“I’m just being aggressive,” LeBron said. “Whoever’s in front of me, I just try to put pressure on them.”
LeBron’s fellow member of the Big Three, Dwyane Wade, said the entire team’s outlook has changed since last year’s Finals meltdown against the Dallas Mavericks.
“Immediately after games, we’re talking about the next game,” Wade said Monday. “We’re not satisfied in the moment that we’re in. It’s totally different than last year.”
Perhaps the biggest problem for the Heat coming out of Game 3 was the lack of perimeter shots going down. The Heat went countless minutes in the third quarter of Game 3 without making a single basket outside of free throws. Still, Coach Spoelstra was happy with the shot selection.
“I like the three point opportunities we had last night,” Spoelstra said. “We had some good looks. You have to stay the course, keep on grinding, and hopefully find a way to win at the end.”
“I felt that we got some good shots that was makeable for us. I thought our mentality of just trying to attack, we got a lot of points in the paint,” Wade said. “But we missed a lot as well. I missed a lot. So if we get those same opportunities again, we’ll be happy with those opportunities.
LeBron said despite all of the attention paid to the Big Three, it’s another member of the Heat who has keyed the team’s performance against Oklahoma City.
“We didn’t have many perimeter shots that fell for us last night,” LeBron said. “Shane is our key guy right now, our only guy right now that’s making perimeter shots.”
Battier has been on a tear since the Finals started. He’s currently shooting 70 percent from behind the 3-point line and is averaging 14.3 points per game thus far in the Finals.
For Miami, converting those open jump shots will be crucial to Miami get another chance to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy as NBA champions. If the jumpers are going in for the Heat, it opens up lanes for LeBron and Wade to attack the basket making the Heat almost unguardable at times.
Miami shot just 38 percent from the field in Game 3 and still won the game thanks to hitting 31 of 35 free throws in the game. The big disparity in free throws will likely come down in Game 4, meaning Miami will have to hit the jumpers that are given to them.
Game 4 is set for a 9:00 p.m. tipoff at the AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday night.