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LeBron James scored another ho-hum 30 points in the Miami Heat's Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals. Though he was eclipsed by OKC's Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter, the narrative coming out of Game 1 is not a late-game James meltdown, but the failure of his All-Star teammates to match his output.
Dwyane Wade had 8 assists, but was marred by 7 of 19 shooting in his 19-point performance. Chris Bosh shot 4 of 11, with only one of his shots coming from closer than 15 feet to the hoop.
Wade's struggles were a continuation of his disappointing postseason, during which he has shot 46% while managing to disappear for entire halves. Though he was able to create open looks for his teammates, he also chucked up rushed, ill-advised jumpers throughout the second half.
"I was attacking, I was getting my teammates shots and I got shots for myself," Wade said after the game. "Attacking to me is just being aggressive. Some nights, I have big nights scoring and some nights I don't."
Bosh seemed to be trying too hard to repeat his monstrous performance from Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, when he hit a trio of three-pointers to score 19 points. Bosh's outside shooting is a key component of Miami's offensive strategy, but he must pair that with some strong moves to the basket in order to keep opposing defenses off guard.
"He's been very accepting of just trying to fit in," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Bosh's return from injury. "But I think we're going to need more from him offensively and try to get him in spots where he's able to be aggressive."
That might mean a return to the starting lineup, which would allow Bosh some opportunities to pound the paint early and free himself up for more open jumpers later in the game. This has been a staple of Miami's offense for the last two seasons.
Shane Battier said the problem that led to the Heat blowing a 13-point lead in Game 1 was Miami's overall execution, and not just the play of its superstars. "I think we played our least intelligent half of basketball in about two months in the second half tonight," Battier said.
"In this league you have to move teams from side-to-side. You have to move bodies and you can't allow teams to lock in and stare at you," he added. "You try to make them move. In the first half we were moving them from side-to-side and we were able to get our attackers going. In the second half, we didn't do that as much."
Only down 1-0 in the series, though, the Heat do not seem panicked just yet. Indeed, it would have been more of a surprise had Miami won Game 1 on the road. "I'm not worried about it," Wade said. "I'm sure we'll find some better opportunities for ourselves and we'll be more comfortable in Game 2."
But if the Heat cannot fix what ails it on the offensive end in Game 2, the Thunder will make them pay, just like they did in Game 1.