May 16, 2012, 10:13 AM EDT
At some point Wednesday, it will dawn on Miami Heat fans that the series against the Indiana Pacers is 1-1 — it’s not over, it’s a best-of-five now. That’s not what it feels like for Miami fans as they drown their sorrows in a mojito, but it is the truth.
The focus in Miami now is the Heat loss in Game 2 at home to the Pacers — and like quarterbacks and presidents the blame for all things Heat falls on LeBron James. No matter how much of the blame he deserves.
And he deserves some — the best player in the game had no points, missed his only shot plus missed two free throws, and had no impact in the final four minutes of the game. It plays into the public perception, and it certainly says something that Erik Spoelstra’s final play call had LeBron setting a screen for Mario Chalmers. That is where you want the ball in LeBron’s hands — even if the Pacers trap him he can pass to an open man. You want LeBron to demand the ball there. Whether he was exhausted or not is really moot, he has to step up.
But the Heat’s problems in this game — and potentially in this series — are bigger than just LeBron.
Without Chris Bosh on the floor to provide another weapon the Pacers were able to pressure the perimeter without fear of their big men paying a price. Bosh can score in the paint or draw a big man out of it because of his midrange game. Without the threat of Bosh the Pacers played a more fearless brand of defense.
Dwyane Wade deserves some blame, he went 8-22 shooting and missed a key layup late in the game.
But the Heat’s biggest issue is that nobody else stepped up and gave Miami anything on offense. Miami players not named Wade or LeBron shot 26.5 percent on the night (9-34). Shane Battier had 5 points, Udonis Haslem 4, Mike Miller 0. The Heat were 1-9 on spot-up threes (stat via MySynergySports.com). That will do them in.
For Miami, they need to get back to getting easy buckets in transition — Miami was 2-9 shooting in transition. The Pacers did a good job of getting back, but rather than attack the Heat settled for jumpers that they missed a lot. They didn’t push and they didn’t attack. They need more transition opportunities and they need to convert on those.
If the Heat offense is simply LeBron and Wade coming off the pick and trying to create on their own Miami will fall. It’s hard to get into the teeth of the Pacers defense when they have long-armed shot blockers — someone has to space the floor out with shooting and if that’s not Bosh another Heat else has to fill that role.
This was never going to be an easy series, not as easy as the Heat fan base thought. The Pacers are the third best team in the East and are better than whomever the Heat would face in the next round. (Sorry Boston, it’s true.) They have good players, they are balanced at both ends of the floor.
Miami is the favorite because they are more talented, because they have the two best players in this series. But that alone is not enough. They need more transition points, they need more from their role players.
And it’s going to take more from LeBron James.
Mar 17, 2014, 3:58 PM EDT
Carmelo Anthony doesn’t really wants to leave the Knicks, he just wants to see a path to a title. Phil Jackson may be that path.
Mar 17, 2014, 3:27 PM EDT
After injuring his neck against the Pacers he is out against the Nuggets Wednesday and maybe longer. Pistons should not rush him back.
Mar 17, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT
Steve Kerr tried to dodge questions about the New York Knicks coaching job while in the Dan Patrick Show Monday.
Mar 17, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT
The Spurs and Clippers have distanced themselves from the pack with double-digit winning streaks and sit on top. The Sixers have anchored themselves to the bottom.
Mar 17, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT
Gooden has given Washington a dangerous, hot-shooting lineup.
Mar 17, 2014, 12:14 PM EDT
You know the game is a blowout when one of the league’s worst free throw shooters gets to take a technical foul shot.
Mar 17, 2014, 11:39 AM EDT
Rondo tries to take the blame for Boston’s overtime loss to the Pelicans. But he wasn’t the one guarding Anthony Davis.
Mar 17, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
He’s insanely good. And he’s just 21.
Mar 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
After one year at Duke, the 6’8″ forward with three point range is looking at the NBA.
Mar 17, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
The 2012 draft already looks like it will go down as one of the NBA’s stronger ones ever. Andre Drummond is incredibly promising. Damian Lillard won Rookie of the Year and is even better this season. But there’s no doubt, if the draft were re-done, Anthony Davis would remain the No. 1 pick. Days like…
Mar 17, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
Stephen Curry is a bad, bad man.
Mar 17, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
One in four shots in an NBA Game this season has been a three. That number is only going to go up.
Mar 17, 2014, 3:00 AM EDT
The Cleveland Cavaliers made the playoff their firm goal, started poorly, traded for Luol Deng, fired their general manager, re-affirmed their playoff priority and backed it up by trading for Spencer Hawes. By winning the first two games of their current road trip – at Phoenix, at Golden State – the Cavaliers finally looked like…
Mar 17, 2014, 2:57 AM EDT
Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching the King of the Hill/True Detective mashup… Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors. Early in the third quarter Houston took an 18 point lead over Golden State and seemed to be in complete control. Then the shots from Warriors backcourt started to…
Mar 17, 2014, 1:00 AM EDT
Golden State and Portland are in the packed middle of the Western Conference playoff race, coming into the game the Warriors were the six seed, 2.5 games back of the Trail Blazers. Both teams needed a win and this game had a real playoff feel, with the Trail Blazers leading by 18 and the Warriors…
Mar 16, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
A report says the Cavaliers would have been interested in hiring Phil Jackson, which is interesting because it’s likely a position he never would have even considered.
Mar 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
DeMar DeRozan expressed his displeasure over a non-call by kicking the ball away from a referee — a move which guaranteed him a quick whistle in the form of a technical foul.
Mar 16, 2014, 7:41 PM EDT
Midway through the third quarter you had to like how the Rockets were playing against the Heat in Miami. Tied 92-92, the Rockets got what seemed like their 5,347th floater in the lane of the night, this time it was Chandler Parsons over Chris Andersen. The Rockets players did not fear the Heat shot blockers…
Mar 16, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Patrick Beverley leaves LeBron James in the dust, before attacking the rim and throwing down a huge slam on Chris Bosh.
Mar 16, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
LeBron takes a nice pass from Wade and elevates over Dwight Howard for the vicious first quarter slam.
- Carmelo Anthony says Phil Jackson makes Knicks more attractive, he would adapt style of play 0
- NBA Power Rankings: Spurs, Clippers are your clear top two 4
- The Extra Pass: This season’s record number of threes is just the start 8
- Sunday NBA grades: Golden State’s Curry, Thompson put on a show 8
- Heat execute in final minutes, Rockets still learning, fall in Miami 20