In Game 3, a 113-77 loss for the Heat, James was 7-of-21 shooting overall and 2 of 14 from outside paint. In Game 4, with the Heat trailing 2-1 in the series, James was 15 of 25 from the field (60 percent), including 8 of 12 from outside paint.
What was the most significant change? James forced himself to be patient, according to Bosh, who said on Monday that the Heat would need a similar mind-set in this series.
“You’re given the jump shot in the initial defense, and I know they’re a very smart team. They know about statistics,” Bosh said of the Spurs. “A mid-range two, they’d rather give that up, a late contest, rather than LeBron getting to the bucket, or an open three.”
Bosh noted a lot of the same strategy in the recently completed Western Conference finals. The Spurs defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games.
“They feel like they do their job if they force you into quick shots, which we saw against OKC,” Bosh said. “(Oklahoma City) didn’t have the discipline to continue to work their offense. They took a lot of those shots. Some of those went in, but when it got tough, a lot went out.
“So, you just have to pick and choose your spots. Sometimes it’s a good shot, but most times you’re just going to have to be patient.”
The patient and necessary approach against the Spurs was a contributing source of motivation for Bosh to further develop his three-point shot. If he can pull the Spurs’ defenders out of the paint, then James and Wade can have easier driving lanes to the basket. If the defenders remain inside, Bosh can then backpedal outside for a wide-open corner three-pointer.
And that’s the shot he was working on 30 minutes after practice Monday. He was the last player on the court. Bosh didn’t score in Game 7 of the 2013 Finals, going 0 of 5 from the field and 0 of 1 from three-point range. As a team, Heat attempted 32 three-pointers.
“We can change up the looks a little bit,” Bosh said. “We’ll see how the series goes, but we’re going to pre-adjust just a little bit, and take our success and failures from last year and kind of really mix it into this series.
“Because we’ve played this team before and because they’ve played us, it’s kind of like picking right back up where we left off and this is Game 8.”
— There was a narrative this season that suggested James didn’t try as hard defensively as in years past. That perception kept him off of the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.
James was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team on Monday. Taking James’ annual place on the team was Indiana forward Paul George, who earned his first selection to the First Team. James was left off the first team despite leading the Heat in steals and rebounds.
©2014 The Miami Herald
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