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NBA Playoffs: Heat flaws show up big, Pacers exploit them to even series

May 15, 2012, 10:04 PM EDT

Heat Pacers Game 2

Miami fans, the time to panic may be now.

Indiana certainly didn’t dominate Miami in their ugly 78-75 Game 2 win, but they did make the Heat look like a team that may be fatally flawed without the third member of their “Big 3″ in the lineup. The Heat had plenty of chances to win this game, but ended up giving home-court advantage to a team that nobody was predicting to win the series. Also, Miami simply didn’t look like a championship-caliber basketball team on Tuesday, which may be an even worse sign for them.

Miami was never able to get it going offensively, but they hid that in the first half by playing some absolutely suffocating defense on the Pacers, holding them to just 33 points in the 1st half and seemingly having an extra man on the court defensively.

In the 3rd quarter, however, Miami took their foot off the gas pedal defensively, Indiana was able to get a 28-point quarter, and Miami was unable to recover. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did their best, combining for 21 of Miami’s 23 fourth-quarter points, but LeBron missed 2 key free throws with 54 seconds remaining, and Wade missed a contested layup that would have tied the game for the Heat with 16 seconds remaining.

The Pacers missed a ton of free throws on their own to allow the Heat to stay in the game, but they were able to hold on after Mario Chalmers missed a game-tying 3 as time expired.

The story tomorrow will likely be about Wade’s missed layup and LeBron’s missed free throws (the latter more than the former), but the truth is that Miami’s offensive problems go much deeper than their ability to make shots down the stretch, especially with Bosh out of the lineup. Chalmers and Mike Miller played like they were shaving points. James Jones missed all 3 of his 3-point attempts. The team shot 1-16 from deep. Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, and Ronny Turiaf combined for 7  points, and Erik Spoelstra seems to have lost faith in Haslem, the team captain, who only played 12 minutes.

No single Pacer had a great game, but that’s the beauty of this Pacer team — they don’t need big performances. They got what they needed when they needed it — a Leandro Barbosa floater here, a Danny Granger jump shot there, a David West post move on occasion, all the way down the line, and it was all they needed to beat the Heat on a night where Miami simply couldn’t get anything done offensively.

It’s simple for the Heat now — if they don’t win at least one game in Indiana, they’re going to go home early and have no rings to show for 2 years of having their “big three.” After Derrick Rose got injured, a lot of people expected Miami to have a fairly easy road to the finals, but the frontrunners should be feeling serious pressure right now.

  1. mikejd12 - May 16, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    @redstar, saying the Lebron isn’t the MVP is a joke, wade admitted to everyone in the world lbj is better. So for you to say that is pure haterade… Keep your day job homie and take a look at the stats

  2. dirtmcgirt413 - May 16, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    As I and many others have said… “the king” choked… Some MVP. Btw… The Big Three resides in Boston… With the banners and the rings…not in Miami.

    • africanballer - May 16, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      the big 3 reside in boston? LOL

    • diehardcubbiefan4life - May 16, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      Yall can hate but dirt is right. Whos got the banners and rings? And this coming from a diehard Bulls fan. I hope the Celtics make 1 last great run with this generations TRUE big 3

    • 20dollardinners - May 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      ring – singular. The Boston ‘Big Three’ won 1 ring. Not plural.

  3. africanballer - May 16, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    Everyone is waiting for Lebron to fail again. You’ll have to wait a while they got the pacers

  4. allball23 - May 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Crazy how wade says he wants lebron to be comfortable but down the stretch wade is taking the shots. Lebron choked on two free throws but should have got a chance to make up for it with last shot of the game. Coach is dumb why draw up a play for chalmers when lebron and wade have all the points in the 4th quarter? Pacers are the real deal.

    • mikejd12 - May 16, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Wade missed free throws also!

  5. comeonnowguys - May 16, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Well there you go. Indiana got its precious moral victory by not getting swept.

    • jgillmeister - May 16, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Moral victory my A**. The Pacers are a real team. The Heat are 2 1/2 stars (with the 1/2 out) and a bunch of scrubs. Lebron promised 7 rings, down to 6 after last year, and 5 after they fold this time.

  6. abchome - May 16, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Yes, it’s time to panic.

    Against Boston you can take Rondo out (say by dislocating his elbow) and win. But Indiana is a balanced team with no clear target…

    • comeonnowguys - May 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Chug Chug Chug.

      Kool-Aid is delicious. Not at all poisonous.

  7. allmyteamsareterrible - May 16, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    That’s one more than LeBron or Bosh have won.

  8. klownboy - May 16, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    I still have the Heat winning this series, though it will be much tougher without Bosh…

    http://theklowntimes.net/2012/05/12/2012-nba-playoff-preview-eastern-conference-semifinals/

  9. furio2929 - May 16, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Skip Bayles having fun today. LBJCHOKED last night. Only played46 min.

  10. southbeachtalent - May 16, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    LBJ choked? How about the rest of the team? Are you guys for real? I would think that if you actually took the time to create an account on this blog that you would have some basketball knowledge. Apparently none of that is true.

    LeBron was a beast as usual, he needs some help. No one was hitting their jumpers, no one was hustling after the half. Battier, Miller, and Haslem were horrible. Chalmers was the worst player on the court.

    Here are the facts:

    LeBron:

    Played 42 mins (more than anyone on either team)
    28 Pts (led all scores)
    9 Rebounds (Most on the Heat)
    5 Assists (led all players)
    6 Steals (led all players)

    Missed two big free throws..and that makes him a choker. Just stupid. I’m providing real numbers and real facts. Not some non-sensical Le?? joke or making fun of the man’s mother.

    Cold hard facts. He is far and away the best player in the league. Deal with it.

    We will win this series, wont be easy especially with Bosh out but we will win.

    Go ahead and throw a ticker tape parade because the Heat lost their first home play off game. I know it was an incredible accomplishment. Meanwhile the Heat are worried about the series. Now go hide under your rocks until the Heat lose again.

  11. bstmusic1 - May 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I’m a Heat Hater, but I gotta believe that this is an overreaction. It’s one game that the Heat gave away. I’m sure it won’t be the last: it’s what they do. But THey’re still probably going to beat the Pacers. Unfortunately.

  12. jh4prez - May 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Spoelstra cant manage a popcorn stand.the qtr was his fault.he should have called time out halfway through the 20-4 run.that being said there is no excuse for missef fts or the king not taking that three. #justswingbron!

  13. joeksnuffy - May 16, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    The Heat are too arrogant for their own good. They feel entitled and refuse to be consistently focused on the task at hand. They spend too much time seeking and celebrating the highlight-reel play, and they lose focus. Because there isn’t a serious obstacle left in the east to stop them, they may very well get to the finals and win it all. But, they are the least deserving team in the league.

  14. dexterismyhero - May 16, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Gotta give the Pacers some credit. They outplayed the Heat in both games really, but they stumbled at the end of game 1.

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