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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. Chris Ross - May 18, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Wow, who would have thought that the Heat would be down 2-1 to the Pacers after 3 games. This is insane and this is why you play the regular season. Without Chris Bosh the Pacers have no mismatch on the front line and Roy Hibbert is just going to town, although he might have done that anyways with Bosh in the lineup. But it’s obvious that Lebron can’t keep playing the 4 because it’s just too tolling on him. He’s big but he’s not that big to do it game in and game out and be expected to put up MVP numbers. This series is going to go down to the wire likely and hopefully it’s a dandy.

  2. abchome - May 18, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    Boozer congratulates former teamate James “We have a great season, yo”

  3. diamondmo33 - May 18, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Miami has Indy right where they want them…. Heat will win this series.

  4. teddybess - May 18, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    I hear the Heat are rebranding to the miami cold. You could build and condo on Miami beach with all the bricks Wade was throwing up.

  5. fanz928 - May 18, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    Heats will win series even if they lose the next I probably put my money on them if they’re down 3-1 because they’re going against the pacers …. The pacers?

    • boondocksaint224 - May 18, 2012 at 6:07 AM

      Congratulations on watching your first game this season!

      You see, I’m assuming you haven’t watched any basketball this season because you’re foolishly assuming that the Pacers (the #3 seed in the East only finishing four games behind Miami in the standings, as well as having the fifth best overall record in the NBA this season) suck.

      So now that you’ve gotten that comment out of the way, you can go crawl back under that rock you’ve been living under for the last five months.

    • slowclyde86 - May 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM

      Just wondering…Have you ever watched a basketball game?

  6. davidly - May 18, 2012 at 6:29 AM

    I never say never in a seven game series. For example, if the Heat win game 4, everybody’ll be saying it’s over for Indiana.

    This is classic NBA playoff punditry swing (and I’m not trying to be one of those knuckle dragging jergoff’s who rag on Kurt all the time, cuz everybody does it). One team’s up, their invincible; the other team’s up, whatRtheygonnado!?

    I still think the Pacers are hands-down the better team, but stranger things have happened (cough Portland-Lakers cough).

    The problem for Miami – as I see it – is that they have been put together in such a way that they the starters need to build an insurmountable lead to win the game. That’s not really fair to the rest of the team.

    And the Pacers haven’t even used all of their weapons yet. That guy Kurt mentioned, Lance Stephenson? He’s capable of lighting ’em up.

  7. blarry21 - May 18, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    Miami just expects everyone to bow down and worship their talent. Too bad for them that the other teams don’t see it that way.

  8. redblue560 - May 18, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    fanz928 . . . The pacers?

    The Pacers are not the same team of the Reggie Miller / Chuck Pearson era. Larry Bird rebuilt the pacers with good performing players but with less name recognition. He has the insight to see where a player can fit in. Just think of Bill Walton in 1986.

    If the pacers can sustain the same performance of game 3, we will see the pacers at the finals. Now it would be interesting to see a Pacers vs Celtics. Bird vs Ainge, are we going to see them sitting next to each other discussing who built a better team? Is David West going to be a factor ? The celtics tried to sign him this season.

  9. pudgalvin - May 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    If the Heat lose this series, will Lebron change his mind about the asterisk for this season?

    And no disrespect to the Pacers, Celtics or Sixers, but it’s a goddamned crime that we won’t get to see a full strength Bulls team take on a full strength Heat team in the ECF.

    • donfelder440 - May 18, 2012 at 7:48 AM

      Why? The Bulls and the Heat are 2 of the most flawed top seeds I can remember. For as much flack as the LeBron Cavs got in hindsight, those teams were far more balanced and had a lot more chemistry. I’m enjoying the Pacers’ team basketball and balanced approach (especially after their offense finally came alive last night), and the Celtics have at least 2 future hall of famers out there finding their second wind. Let’s not forget the Celtics absolutely owned the “full strength” Heat in the latter half of the season, either.

      • infectorman - May 18, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 not 5, not 6 not 7…”
        -Lebron “Naive” James

      • davidpcoelho - May 18, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        Well LeBron may have been right with that statement. He has not 1, not 2, not 3 rings…

      • SmackSaw - May 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 not 5, not 6 not 7…”

        Not any.

      • pudgalvin - May 19, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        You can call them flawed if you want, but they’re still better at full strength than any other teams in the East. As I said, no disrespect to the other teams as they’re good teams, but the Heat and Bulls have proved over the last two seasons that they’re the superior teams. You can’t tell me that Roy Hibbert and Kevin Garnett or Andre Igudala would make for better basketball than Rose and the Bulls defensive machine matching up with Lebron, Wade and Bosh. Life goes on, but it sucks that we won’t get to see that series.

    • electstat - May 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Just another season where a LeBron led team literally GIVES UP during a playoff game. LeBron wasn’t involved in the second half until he was pulled at the end of the game and was supporting his team from the sidelines.

    • electstat - May 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Just another season where a LeBron led team literally GIVES UP during a playoff game. LeBron wasn’t involved in the second half until he was pulled at the end of the game and was supporting his team from the side.

  10. pudgalvin - May 18, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    If the Heat lose this series, will Lebron change his mind about the asterisk for this season?

    And no disrespect to the Pacers, Celtics or Sixers, but it’s a goddamned crime that we won’t get to see a full strength Bulls team take on a full strength Heat team in the ECF.

  11. Gordon - May 18, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    The curse of Dan Gilbert.

    • monarch897 - May 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      It’s the curse of Lebron. I have said ever since he walked off the court not shaking hands after two playoff routes that he will be cursed.

      One has got to be gracious in defeat before he can be gracious in winning.

      He is neither therefore will not win a championship

      • slowclyde86 - May 18, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        What’s more—If the Heat don’t pull it together this year, I am not so sure Gilbert’s promise of Cleveland getting a championship before Miami is so far-fetched, especially if the ping-pong balls bounce favorably for the Cavs again this month. Wade isn’t getting any younger, and the Cavs might actually have a really nice nucleus of talent.

        Unlikely, but no longer impossible. Could be interesting.

  12. blueintown - May 18, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    In lieu of the missed call in game 2 and subsequent missed opportunity in game three, the Miami Heat have made a formal request that the league office suspend Dwayne Wade for game 4.

    Seriously. That dude is atrocious.

  13. florida727 - May 18, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    The Heat are (obviously) in trouble. Not just in this series either. Dwayne Wade’s game has always been predicated on speed, slashing to the basket, driving through traffic, absorbing the punishment, and finishing. Jordan played the same way early in his career. The difference was/is, Jordan had the size and strength to change his game as he got older. He could post-up with his back to the basket. Wade can’t… at least not to the tune of 30 points-per-game like Jordan did.

    I think we’re watching the decline of Wade as a force. The compacted schedule didn’t help either; I think that alone accelerated his “aging” as a player. His frustration has even crept over into his attitude, which was clearly on display last night. I don’t watch all their games, but I’d never seen him pout like he did last night. He just looked really bad.

    Might see a flash or two of brilliance out of him yet, but overall, for the long haul, he’s definitely well past his peak.

  14. lenbias34pt - May 18, 2012 at 8:53 AM


    The Heat will win this series, and be the favorate in the Celtic series.

    They will lose in the Finals in 5 or 6.
    LBJ is by far the most talented guy in the League, and while i agree Wade’s career is heading in the wrong direction, he is still the second best player in this series!

    What needs to be addressed by the media is how little the Heat have gotten from Shane and Miller. Neither defend (we can all officially ignore Shane’s reputation} and aside from a play or 2 a game these guys have given nothing.
    Both of these guys were seen as key contributors when signed.

  15. omniusprime - May 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Hey Kurt, better believe plenty of people predicted the Heatstroke would wilt under the pressure of the playoffs. Once again Queen James is showing why he is not the most valuable player, just the most constant choker in the NBA. So funny D Wade melted under the pressure of a mere second round playoff series game. So many of us will be rooting for the Pacers to end the Heatstroke’s attempt to win rings, so much for Queen James’s worthless guarantee. Tee Hee!!!

  16. chance72 - May 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    well can we finally stop comparing lebron to jordan???jordan found a way to win 6 titles with below average big men and point guards.i have said this from the begining bron-bron dont have the heart of a champion that is why he took his talent to south beach with d wade.i wish people would get off his nuts and start treating him the way he should be treated.he is a spoiled brat by the media and hasnt lived up to the hype.

  17. philtration - May 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    As a Bulls fan I don’t like the Pacers but I do know that they are a very good team.
    This will not be a big shock to me if Indiana wins the series.

    The Heat looked dead after the 1st quarter and I will never understand why they picked Erik Spoelstra to be their coach.
    As a team they have a fragile mindset and he is not the guy to get them where they want to be.

    • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      I tend to agree with that phil. He will be on the hot seat for sure if this continues.

  18. tfoz5150 - May 18, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Dwayne Wade is the biggest chump this side ofAlex Rodriguez. All he ever does anymore is whine and complain for calls. I first noticed it last year when they were playing the Sixers in the playofffs and he was hanging all overr the rim showboating and slam dunking the ball unceremoniously after one of the games was well in hand. Very classless. I think all the hype with the Big 3 and the expectations most certainly went to this guys head. It’s too bad, because I used to respect the hell mout of him.

    • bleedgreen4life - May 18, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      I do remember that. Game 5 when the Heat just closed out the Sixers. There was less than 10 seconds left with the game in hand and Wade has the balls to run down the court and dunk the ball. That’s when I lost all respect for that classless egomaniac.

  19. furio2929 - May 18, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    The Heat will come back. Don’t count them out yet. Today they will gather together then pull their selves together and cool off from last nights game. They r coming back and pull it off. Spurs n Heat for finals.

  20. jh4prez - May 18, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Paging John Calipari!paging john calipari!

  21. ezmagic - May 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    To 1972…. As a magic fan we made it to the finals with 1 superstar and the 1st team in nba history to beat two 60 win teams without home court in the playoffs and we made it to the conference finals the following year again with 1 superstar. Yes we might be in the lottery after next season but at least we dont look like morons like the heat and their fans when you have 3 superstars, talk a lot of crap about winning 5,6,7 championships and lose to the MAVS with 1 superstar then can’t even contend the following year. You can’t buy a title. You earn it. Doesn’t Riley know that or is his hair gel clogging his brian?

    • southbeachtalent - May 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      So your standards are at making the Finals? Pathetic..

      • myopinionisrighterthanyours - May 18, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        May as well be the Heat’s standards. Remind me of how many they’ve won since assembling the Three Me-Egos? Looks like they might not even reach this lofty goal this year.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 18, 2012 at 6:33 PM

      Magic fan has to pipe down. Won the Shaq lottery. Won the Dwight Howard lottery. Won the Chris Webber lottery. Won nothing else. Not even a finals game (I think).

      Tell you what. When the Heat, or anyone else, wins the first pick 3 times in 15 years and two of the 1st choices are the best, most dominemt big men of their era; then they can avoid signing big free agents too.

      • philtration - May 18, 2012 at 11:05 PM


  22. ezmagic - May 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM


  23. mungman69 - May 18, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    The Heat in six.

  24. joeksnuffy - May 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Wade has shown himself to be a tantrum-throwing baby when things don’t go his way. This is surprising coming from a veteran and former champion. It’s pathetic.

  25. gnowk9 - May 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Lebum is the MVP again this year, what is the use of voted to MVP by all the sport writers, they really don’t know crap. All these hypes of how good Lebum is this and that. If he is supposedly to be that good how come he disappeared like Casper the ghost in fourth quarters? Explain that to me all you supposedly know it all sport writers who voted three MVPs for him. Stop giving him all these accolades cause he hasn’t won an NBA chamionship yet let alone seven championships he claimed he is going to win. All you freaking bias writers never heard you guys give these kind of credits to Kobe all these years, I haven’t heard one time you guys said Kobe was the best player when he was in his prime. What if Lebum only win one or two or none when he retires, would you guys still say Lebum was the best? To me if Lebum doesn’t win five championships like Black Mamba does or score 81 points or more, Lebum is no better than BM. Stop all these BS accolades til both retire and then compare who was the best at thir prime. My gut feeling Lebum won’t win a championship in Miami cause D-Wade is not a true leader, can’t carry a team, don’t even want to go there with crybaby Bosh, he doesn’t have it. Two years ago, told my wife Lebum should have come to LA and understudy under Kobe cause he has that moxie to get it done. Lebum needs to learn that from Kobe not from D-Wade, cause D-Wade got no moxie. If Lebum came two years ago he would have some moxie and one if not two bling brings now. So by the time Kobe retires two or three years from now, Lebum would have had five years of moxies and at least two or three bling brings, then Lebum can be Lebron and lead the Lakers to get more bling brings, only then you writers can vote as many times MVP as you want for Lebron just NOT NOW he doesn’t deserve any yet cause he got no moxies and zero, nada, bling bling like Kobe who has five.

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