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Game 1 Review
For Miami, the Heat want an obvious repeat of a fast start as they were able to put up a huge first quarter offensively scoring 41 points (FG 70%) led by Luol Deng who finished the game with 31. Inside the paint, look for Hassan Whiteside to continue to assert his game as he came out with 21 points and 11 rebounds in his playoffs debut. On the perimeter Goran Dragic led the Heat with 10 assist; all leading to a franchise record 123 total points in a playoff game. Charlotte on the other hand needs to wake up and turn it up to match the playoff intensity of Miami. The youth and inexperience of the Hornets showed dramatically as only Nic Batum (24 pts) and Kemba Walker (19 pts) were players of mentioning in Game 1 as the Hornets never led at any point in the game.
Keys to the game
Given all the positive aspects, look for Miami to continue to not turn the ball over and take good shots on their home floor. They definitely need to keep the energy up and play and dictate the pace. Charlotte needs to realize that this is a seven-game series and their goal of stealing one in Miami is still attainable. Shot selection, turnovers, and ball movement would be three keys for Charlotte to improve upon if they want to have a chance at spoiling the Heat’s Game 1 blowout.
The Hornets X-Factor is Marvin William. Earth to Marvin Williams, the playoffs have started! The playoffs are when the stars are supposed to shine but without Williams showing up, expect much of the same as Miami will force more turnovers on the outside if Williams cannot open up the floor.
The Heat’s X-Factor is Joe Johnson. Johnson needs to un-shell his playoff disappearing act he’s suffered from throughout his career. On the Miami side of the ball expect another team effort from Deng, Whiteside, Wade and Dragic. The question I only have after a stellar Game 1 is, can Deng do what he did for an entire series?
Prediction: Miami 102- Charlotte 93