You won't find an NBA player who can offer you more insight into X's and O's than Ryan Gomes of the Los Angeles Clippers. As a forward who has defended both perimeter players and big men, Gomes always has smart insight about what's happening between the lines. We expect him to be roaming the sidelines for his Providence Friars once he finishes his NBA career. Until then, we'll use him as our scout.
Coming out of Game 2, we had a few questions for Gomes about some on-court themes materializing in the Finals:
Even when the Heat were winning in Game 2, they weren't getting a whole lot in the half-court offense. What's the biggest adjustment Miami has to make in Game 3?
In Game 2, Miami was scoring more in transition and through highlight plays. The Heat were pushing on misses. That's where they took control in the third quarter and the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. In order for Miami to be more of a threat in the half court, it needs to force Tyson Chandler to defend pick-and-rolls with Dwyane Wade. The Heat might also want to look at using Mike Miller in pick-and-roll situations to disrupt the defense.
What does Dallas need to do to keep that offensive momentum going in Game 3?
The Mavericks need to continue to share the ball and get Jason Terry going. Because as Terry and J.J. Barea go, so goes Dallas. The bench is a focal point for them to continue to have control in the series.
Of course, the Mavericks also need to keep the offense going through Dirk Nowitzki. In addition, Chandler is huge for them on the boards since Chris Bosh is guarding him. The more Dallas can make offensive rebounds play a factor, the better off it'll be.
Dallas switched up its pick-and-roll coverage on LeBron James in the fourth quarter, sending hard traps at him every time he touched the ball. A smart strategy for Dallas going forward?
I think in the pick-and-roll, you can trap LeBron like the Mavs did in the fourth -- but you can't do it the whole game. If you do, he'll start to get very comfortable and know his outlets. You can also go under on LeBron. This is another way to make him settle for jump shots, which is the way you want Miami to play -- taking jumpers rather than running out in transition or slashing to the hole.
We have to believe Dallas will go back to it at some point. If you're Miami, what's the best way to handle the zone?
Dallas will certainly go back to the zone because it keeps Miami out on the perimeter. When and if that happens, the Heat should put LeBron at the foul line area with Udonis Haslem and Bosh working the short corners with Miller and Wade in the game. Once you have your shooters and LeBron can get into the teeth of the zone, he'll draw the defense's attention and be that facilitator he was against Chicago in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
What's Miami's best lineup in crunch time and why?
'Bron, Wade, Miller, Bosh, Haslem. That's an athletic unit with shooters that can switch screens, give you height at 1-though-3 positions, and every one of those guys can all rebound.