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Heat hit self-destruct button, Pacers steamroll to Game 3 win

May 17, 2012, 11:13 PM EDT

Miami Heat's Wade walks during their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff against Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis Reuters

The Miami Heat self-destructed, and Dwyane Wade hit the button.

Wade, the 2006 finals MVP, was 2-for-13 shooting and had words with coach Erik Spoelstra as the Heat came apart at the seams and fell to a Pacers team growing in confidence with every minute. Game 3 finished 94-75 — which is pretty reflective of how the game went — and the Pacers lead the Eastern Conference semifinals series 2-1.

The Pacers are in the Miami players’ heads, and you have to wonder if the Heat can get them out of there before Game 4. The Heat hesitate with decisions, seem to be looking over their shoulder, and their confidence is shaken. Meanwhile, the Pacers have Danny Granger and George Hill knocking down 3-pointers and Roy Hibbert scoring 19 and owning the paint.

Most fans — and apparently the Heat players — did not realize before this series how good the Pacers were. They do now.

What nobody expected was for the Heat to buckle at the first sign of adversity. Especially not Wade, who was minus-19 and jawed with his coach during the blowout. After the game in his news conference, Spoelstra blew off the incident.

“Anybody who hasn’t been part of a team, been a coach, been a player, you have no idea how often things like that happen,” Spoelstra said. “It was during a very emotional part of the game, we were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season… that was nothing, the least of our concerns.”

Which is good, because the Heat have a plethora of concerns.

Without Chris Bosh setting the picks and spacing the floor, the Miami offense has become a muddled mess. That’s not all about Bosh, that’s about how the Heat responded to adversity. They shot 37 percent as a team, 20 percent from three.

LeBron James played well early, but like the rest of the Heat faded as the game went on, finishing with 22 points on 22 shots. He could not take over and turn the tide. He was so unimpressive, Lance Stephenson was giving him the choke sign from the bench.

The death throes of a coach in a series often come when they start to look deep down the bench for a spark from a matchup that hasn’t really worked for them all season. This game Spoelstra switched up the starting lineup to put Dexter Pittman and Shane Battier in it. Yes, Pittman.

It is another sign that the Heat are in serious, serious trouble in this series, to go with arguing on the bench, the muddled offense, the inability to hit 3-pointers and general bad play.

The Pacers are far the better team right now. It’s not close. If the Heat didn’t have the guys who should be the two best players in the series on their side, we would be calling this thing over. Maybe we should anyway.

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. sledgehorn - May 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Oh man. Before the playoffs started if someone said:
    “The Eastern Conference Championship game will be the Pacers vs Sixers/Celtics”
    I would have laughed hysterically. Now it’s a pretty serious possibility…

    • trbowman - May 18, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      David Stern is having nightmares over that possibility.

      Can you imagine a Pacers/Spurs finals? Yeesh.

      • davidly - May 18, 2012 at 6:10 AM

        That is gonna be a great finals. Those who think otherwise are not unlike the kind of fan who needed the highlight spot to be able to follow the hockey puck.

      • kavika6 - May 18, 2012 at 6:36 AM

        If you want to see a hard-fought, seven game series you might find it boring. Few people outside of San Antonio want to see a sweep with four Spurs blowouts. I’m sorry if you find the best team on the planet boring.

    • davidly - May 18, 2012 at 6:04 AM

      I did. But instead of loling, they just called me names.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 7:02 AM

      I think I’m going to start drinking heavily

      • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        I’m with ya…

  2. socalgal64 - May 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    *Death throes

    • nelsonsaint - May 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      Thank you. Glad I wasn’t the only one who saw that.

    • davidly - May 18, 2012 at 6:12 AM

      throe pillow n. – for putting grandpa “to sleep”

  3. freudnumb - May 17, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    It took two injured all-stars for the Bulls to drop their series. The Heat? An all-star. Not two, not three … who cared about this Chris Bosh guy when he was healthy anyway?

    • david8726 - May 17, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      Bosh was always critical their success.

      Wade and LeBron have skills that overlap each other. Both of them drive and create plays for others.

      Bosh was unique. He provided both of those guys with much needed floor spacing, rebounding, and length on the defensive end. And considering how awful the rest of the supporting players are for Miami, his contributions were critical. We’re seeing how valuable he was to them right now.

      • mogogo1 - May 18, 2012 at 1:39 AM

        Throwing in one more reason he’s so valuable…he’s humble enough to accept being the third guy. If he had half the ego of Wade or LeBron, the team would have imploded 10 minutes after they all signed. He’s really the guy that allows things to work smoothly…well, as smoothly as it can.

    • hwatt - May 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM

      well, the Bulls confidence was shaken when they lost the trump card, D. Rose. Noah was just a kick the balls.

      For the Heat to lose confidence over their third wheel- a necessary third wheel, yes- but still the third guy, not LeBron or Wade… that’s pretty strange.

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - May 18, 2012 at 2:58 AM

      Live by the three-player team, die by the three-player team.

      • gmsingh - May 18, 2012 at 7:25 AM

        What is wrong with NBA fans? How do people get sucked into the hype like this? Maybe the Heat aren’t that good, and the Pacers are playing hard fought, team basketball. Give a team their props for playing well, instead of vomitting up stuff from sports talk shows about “What happened to the Heat!” What happened to the Heat? They’re an ego driven bunch coached by a mediocre coach. That’s what happened.

    • blueintown - May 18, 2012 at 8:12 AM

      I hope you’re not referring to Joakim Noah, because he’s definitely not an all-star.

  4. acdc363 - May 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Let’s just hope the Pacers don’t celebrate too much when they send Wade and Bron home for the season!

    • dal24la - May 17, 2012 at 11:54 PM

      That’s my biggest fear, that they will beat Heat, maybe even in 5 or 6 and over celebrate than come out flat versus Boston because already feel like they have done a good job.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - May 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

        They’ll be playing Philly. Don’t let Game 3 fool you. Boston won’t play like that again for the rest of the series.

      • passerby23 - May 18, 2012 at 12:22 AM

        @ Mr. Wright212

        Wrong. Boston doesn’t need to put up 107 pts to win the series. They don’t have to play that well to win the series. Game 3 showed that Boston is a better team who can execute in the half court. Philly has shown when they can’t get out and run, their half court offense is poor, and that won’t get it done against an experienced team like the Celtics. I think the Sixers can still win another game and fulfill my original prediction of 6 games.

      • gostlcards5 - May 18, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        I don’t think that will happen. I took my kids to a Pacers-Celtics game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse a couple of weeks before the season was over. This was the one loss they had in a stretch of 12 games where they won 11.

        After the game, Roy Hibbert came out and spoke to about 200-300 people (Boy Scouts & families). One of the kids asked who he would like to play in the playoffs, and Roy basically said “It’d be really nice to play these guys again, because they are playing well, and it’d be nice to redeem ourselves from them coming to our place and beating us like they did.”

        The team has a good veteran presence with West and Hill (yes, I know he’s a 4th year guy, but he played for the Spurs, which has shown to be good for him), so I think they will keep their poise and composure. I could be wrong, but they play like they want it.

  5. alldonesmith - May 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    I suppose that this is all LeBron’s fault somehow. Just wait for the comments to come rolling in.

    • lyndseymarieee - May 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM

      The Heat sucked as a whole tonight. No doubt about that.

  6. mnsadsportsfan - May 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Did ronny turiaf sleep with lebrons mom??

    • troy10 - May 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      Now THAT….. is some funny s#!&

      • therealroman - May 18, 2012 at 5:58 AM

        that’s why he was celebrating that and-1 like he did :-)

  7. boilerup1869 - May 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM


  8. professoressadiesel - May 17, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Nah, D-Wade must have found out before the game that Gabrielle Union was sleeping with LeBrons mom.

    • troy10 - May 18, 2012 at 12:02 AM

      Now that… was just plain awful!

  9. lmvs2012 - May 17, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    James will always be a failure!

  10. sukmydeke88 - May 17, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    We should start entertaining the fact that the Pacers may simply be a better team. There definitely more well rounded. It’s entirely possible the Heat won’t make it out of this round.

    What a royal beatdown.

  11. david8726 - May 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    It’s a shame to see so many teams having their seasons derailed by injuries. First Chicago loses Rose and Noah and gets bounced out of the playoffs, and now Miami loses Bosh and looks like they could follow.

    Miami can still win this series but it’s not looking good. Wade’s jump shot is broken right now. For the playoffs he is hitting less than 30% on jump shots. Everyone can just back off him now and dare him to hit a J. He’s just not himself.

    Battier has been positively terrible on offense. Mike Miller has an injury that the Heat refuse to talk about that is slowing him down significantly. And LeBron didn’t assert himself enough in the 4th quarter tonight (although I’m not sure it would have made a difference considering how bad the rest of the team was).

    To Indiana’s credit, they played extremely well tonight. 2 more games like that and we’re going to be talking about a Pacers / Celtics / Sixers ECF. Who woulda thought?

  12. Mr. Wright 212 - May 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    WHAT UP HEAT “FANS”? Where’s that clown who was doing the countdown throughout the Ref-Aided Knicks series?

    What’s the excuse now?

    You’re going to lose Sunday also.

    You’ll “win” Game 5 and get closed out in 6, IN INDIANA.


    • edweird0 - May 18, 2012 at 3:33 AM

      Why are you yelling in the comment section of this article. So much bitterness…

      • infectorman - May 18, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        He’s from New York; arrogance and obnoxiousness come with the territory…

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 4:05 AM

      Right here my man. Good times and bad. And these last two have definitely been bad.

      • iknowzeroaboutsports - May 18, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        You earned my respect by showing up here.

    • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM

      Yea we don’t blame the refs like the spine-less Knicks fans..

      We got owned, it was embarrassing to watch. D-Wade has got to step-up. What a waisted performance by Chalmers… Battier, Miller, Haslem worst shooting season’s of their career’s…

      The Pacers are a great team; young, fast, and healthy. There’s no denying that. This will be a battle but I’m confident we’ll take it. Can’t wait for Sunday..

  13. dal24la - May 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Well looks like no one will laugh at me anymore when I call Chris Bosh the most important player on the Heat. Not the best, but the most important simply because he accepts being a 3rd wheel and is there only good big man.

    • davidly - May 18, 2012 at 6:18 AM

      Plus, for every minute he is on the floor, that’s one less minute for some other guy who’s getting a buck-fifty/hour to give him a rest.

    • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      He’s second most important. Without LeBron we are the Raptors…

  14. coolj23 - May 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Not one..not two..not three…but none, gotta love the karma!!! Keep talking heat fans can’t hear you.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      Then listen. For Heat fans these last two years have been wilder than any fan base could ever imagine. Every night, every game; it’s like the fate of the world hangs in the balance. It’s been incredible. And it’s not over by the way. Now the Pacers are EXPECTED to win. Things are a whole lot different when you’re expected to win. Don’t the Heat and their fans know it.

      Heat played as bad as they can play last night. But the goal was to get one of two in Indy. That goal is attainable. Let’s see what happens. Another night. Another must see game. Just like last year. And next year, and the year after that. And the year after that.

      How’s your team?

      • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        Exactly, it’s great to know we will be contending for the next 5-7 years.

        And your right, all we need is to take that game Sunday and we are in good shape.


      • infectorman - May 18, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        not 1….

      • Black Label Blues - May 18, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        “Wilder than any fan base could ever imagine?”

        Look, I hear your excitement, but COME ON!

        LeBron was a god in Cleveland. The fans were bonkers for him and the Cavaliers. They sold out every game. The seats were full at tip-off. Every game.

        He was our hometown boy and a God-send. He took us from last place, to two consecutive years at the top of the NBA. He one the first MVP (and second) in franchise history. He was statistically better than Jordan over the first few years of his career. He led the team to it’s first-ever Finals birth.

        Cleveland fans are real fans. They’re the ones who sold out Jacob’s (Progressive) Field 455 times in a row before Boston even had a sniff at the record. They’re the ones who hold the NFL’s highest fan loyalty rating.

        LeBron took us on a wild 7-year ride which ended with the most absurd public nut-kicking in the history of sports.

        I’m glad you guys are having fun, but your times in Miami cannot and will not ever hold a candle to what happens in Cleveland.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 6:05 PM

        All due respect.

        But the “wild ride” isn’t the awesomeness of LeBron James. He’s our first MVP too. That’s the fun part. The wild ride is that everyone in the league/country hates our guts and wants to see us humiliated in the worst possible way in every game. Every game is the biggest game on the other teams calendar. Every fan base wants to beat/mock us. And just about every night, the Heat shut them all up, only to have to do it again and again and again. And last year we had it. We were so freaking close. Tough tough loss.

        It is truly an “Us Against the World” thing going on here. There are 103 comments on this story, and I’ll bet no more than 25 are from actual Pacers fans, and maybe a couple from Hubie Brown too.

        When LeBron was in Cleveland, you NEVER had to deal with any of that stuff. Everybody loved LeBron. Everyone wanted Cleveland to win. You had it easy.

        And while he may have figuratively kicked you in the nuts, it’s your own fault for not wearing a cup. Did you really think he was staying? You may have been surprised he chose Miami. And you may have disapproved of the way he announced it; but if you didn’t see him going somewhere else, that’s on you. If he wanted to re-sign there, he would have done so long before July 2010. When he didn’t, you had to know it was over. He just didn’t act like Carmelo, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard; whining about how he wanted out. He played hard all year and tried to win a title. But the second they lost to Boston on June 2010, dude ripped his jersey off before he got off the court.

        And those “wonderful” Cleveland fans, burning jerseys in the streets. I’d expect that behavior at an anti-George W. Bush rally in Afghanistan in 2002. Those people should have been arrested. And your owner? I think we saw what he was all about didn’t we? Would you want to play for him? Give me a break.

        And by the way, my first MLB game was in Cleveland, 1976. Tribe was wearing full red uniforms. Andre Thornton. Buddy Bell. And there were about 200 people in the stands.

  15. sukmydeke88 - May 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Another season and no ring for LBJ….

    I’d put my main squeeze mink on it!

  16. ezmagic - May 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    As a magic fan i love this….Not even with the refs help can the heat win this series. Yea the heat have 2 “superstars” but after that it’s a bunch of 35 yr old scrubs. Where are the HEAT fans now? Hahahahaha. oh wait next season they will be OKC or spurs fans.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      As a Magic fan, you should be studying the 2013 lottery prospects. And 2014. And 2015.

  17. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - May 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    I guarantee you the Heat would have been closer to winning with Bosh and Wade instead of LeBron and Wade. Shows hows rightful he is to win MVP and he’s not even the most important player on his team when they need him most.

  18. passerby23 - May 18, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Throughout the first half, I was thinking the Pacers should be up by 10-12. If Mario Chalmers doesn’t play out of his mind, this is a 30 point drubbing. Wade looks hurt, tired, and out of sorts. Heat in serious trouble now.

  19. d11i10d1 - May 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    I guess sum of the things im hearing I can’t help but agree but alot I disagree on. We all watched LeBron all season dominate so u can’t say he don’t deserve MVP, yeah Durant doing his thang so it could have been either 1. Im a Heat and LeBron James fan, but I hate to say my dog can’t handle the pressure or dont want dat role. When clutch time comes its like he don’t want the ball in his hand. Last year against the Bulls in the conf. final he played like a MVP but when they played Dallas I saw J Terry guarding him and he passed the ball just as fast as it was passed to him, he didn’t want that pressure, and now im seeing the same thing against the Pacers

  20. ajpurp - May 18, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Man not a fan of any of these teams but what a BORING final if it’s Pacers sixers, wow can see the score line now 67-70. Every game. Even the Celtics and Pacers would suck, man do I wish it was Wade who got hurt. He’s been superfluous this season and Bosh, for what he does and not because he is by any means more talented, is way more important to this team. Wade is not, Lebron can cover his role, especially hitting 2 shots and making horrible mistakes.

    • pl4tinum514 - May 18, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      Celtics Pacers would have the whole ‘Larry Bird’ thing going on. That’d be kinda cool.

      • infectorman - May 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        In that scenario, the Boston haters would either be out in full force pushing it to the limit, or disappear altogether…
        Hopefully the latter

  21. namriverrat69 - May 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Wade looks fatigued. His age is starting to show and perhaps he is losing a little step in his legs as much as it has affected Kobe. When shots fall short and are flat it usually is the legs.

    • mogogo1 - May 18, 2012 at 2:10 AM

      Worse yet is his attitude. He’s the guy who has a ring and should be the steadying influence, but he’s the hottest head on that team. When anything goes the slightest bit wrong, he’s pointing a finger at somebody else. They lose Game 2 and it’s all about how the Pacers celebrated too much…tonight he’s fighting with Spoelstra…I’m waiting for him to question Bosh’s manhood for not playing hurt.

      • kavika6 - May 18, 2012 at 6:43 AM

        It’s too bad because Wade didn’t have that attitude until labron corrupted him,

  22. TheJStyles - May 18, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Wade for Howard.

    Do it.

    • florida727 - May 18, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      What makes you think the Magic want Wade? Trade comments from fans of the team wanting to get rid of a player always make me laugh. It’s like all the Bulls “fans” wanting Boozer gone. What makes you think the other team wants to be as stupid as your team was in signing someone (ie. Boozer) in the first place? In this case, what makes you think the Magic want an aging Dwayne Wade?

      • chicitybulls - May 18, 2012 at 9:46 AM

        Not sure why you have fans in quotation marks but I am a Bulls fan. Have been since 84 and stayed with them through the bad times with Corey Blount and Randy Brown. I am in the category of wanting Boozer gone (but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen). Not amnestied but traded for another piece. The Bulls missed out on their targets and had money to spend. They did a good job of getting a max player and other pieces to fill out the roster. They had to make a signing. Is he overpaid? Yes. But they had to do it to make sure they showed the fanbase that they’re trying to win. I think you should worry about losing your coach, your gm, and your whiny baby all star center for nothing. Good luck being the Cavs south.

  23. redstar504 - May 18, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    The heat are in trouble with LBJ at the 4 he is not strong enough to keep banging bodies with David West.

  24. dimiandmac1 - May 18, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Mr wright your wrong! If the heat win game 5 they would be up 3-2 going into game 6….please dont be a douche…and the celts will take that series in 5

    • TheJStyles - May 18, 2012 at 1:50 AM

      They have to win game 4 to do that.

      Which was his point…

  25. mogogo1 - May 18, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    This series is far from over, but looking at the big picture, this spells huge trouble for the idea of a Heat dynasty. Wade’s past 30, frequently banged up, and it looks like he’s entered that stage you see with aging stars where they’re no longer reliable in big games and sometimes shoot blanks all night long. Remember this was supposed to be the game he made a statement after saying the Pacers celebrated too much after the last game.

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