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NBA Playoffs: Heat destroy Pacers, take 3-2 series lead

May 23, 2012, 12:20 AM EDT

Heat Pacers Game 5

The Miami Heat are just one road loss away from facing a Game 7 in the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs, but they sure did look like a championship team on Tuesday night, when they absolutely dominated the Indiana Pacers en route to a 115-83 win.

There’s really only one way to describe this game: everything went exactly right for the Heat. The Heat haven’t been getting much help from their supporting cast or been able to implement their “Pace and Space” offense throughout this series, but they got contributions from all of their rotation players, made their threes, got out on the break, played great defense, and got great performances from both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while playing suffocating defense. This is the Miami Heat team that we all imagined when LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade announced that they were joining forces. This is the team that looked like an absolute juggernaut. Even though the Heat have a long way to go before they get out of this series, let alone get to the Finals, but on Tuesday night the Heat looked like they can beat either the Spurs or the Thunder.

Let’s go through it: The game started off with the slumping Shane Battier hitting a few wide-open threes, which was the best possible thing that could have happened for them. Battier was in full “No-Stats All-Star” mode on Tuesday, making 4 of his 5 three-point attempts and playing great defense on David West, which allowed the Heat to effectively mitigate the loss of Chris Bosh for at least one night.

LeBron James was in MVP mode once again — he had every aspect of his game working, and finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists on 12-19 shooting from the field. He made outside shots, he worked in the post, he punished the Pacers on the fast-break, he made pinpoint passes, and he crashed the boards hard on both ends. He also made what could be the best pass of the playoffs when he grabbed an outlet pass one-handed, and, while falling out of bounds, hit Wade with an absolute laser beam pass right on the numbers for an easy fast-break dunk.

Dwyane Wade was in rare form as well — he slithered to the basket at will, made some impossible shots around the basket, and even mixed in some outside shots.

There are times when it looks like the offensively challenged Joel Anthony looks like a waste of a roster spot for the Heat, let alone deserving of the 5-year contract they gave him, and there are times when Anthony looks like one of the best bargains in basketball. Tuesday night was an instance of the latter. Anthony showed and recovered brilliantly on pick-and-rolls, kept the Pacers from getting the ball to their bigs in good positions, got 4 blocks, and even made 3 of his 4 shots from the field.

Udonis Haslem has his mid-range shot working again, and gave the Heat great energy, but was a source of controversy after the game. In the 1st half, Haslem delivered an extremely hard foul on Tyler Hansborough shortly after “Psycho T” was called for a Flagrant-1 foul on Dwyane Wade. Haslem was called for a Flagrant-1 foul and was not ejected, but if his foul on Hansborough wasn’t a Flagrant-2, then I’ve frankly never seen a Flagrant-2 foul in my life, and there may be a possibility that Haslem will be suspended for Game 6.

It was a physical game all-around — Dexter Pittman will almost certainly be suspended for a brutal elbow on the Pacers’ Lance Stephenson in the waning moments of the game, and Danny Granger missed most of the 2nd half after he twisted his ankle after landing on LeBron James’ foot after launching a jump shot. (Some Pacer fans may say that LeBron pulled a “Bowen” on Granger to cause the injury, but it certainly looked unintentional to me — if LeBron slipped his foot under Granger’s foot intentionally, he’s the league’s best actor as well as its best player.)

The Heat shot 61% while holding the Pacers to 34% shooting from the field — the Pacers kept themselves in the game early by making some long jumpers, but they were never able to establish their big men against the Heat’s swarming defense, and the offense fell apart completely after Granger had to go to the trainer’s room.

One game can change everything in the playoffs, and the Heat aren’t done with the Pacers yet, and there are no such thing as “statement games” in the playoffs. Still, this was a darn impressive performance from the Heat, and the Pacers definitely need to find some answers before Game 6.

  1. ezmagic - May 23, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Tyler actually got the block first. He hit wade on the follow through. Haslem went up with 2 hands swinging down. I’ve never seen any player swing both hands/arms going for a block. He intended to hit Tyler no matter what. Never came close to the ball. Ejection in the rule book when you go for the head.

    All you bandwagon heat fans are a joke and are going to get swept if you make it to the finals.

    • coolzo39 - May 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      I never liked miami after Lebron decided to come there! No other player I know ever being a super star leave his team that he started his career with and go to another super stars team. Jordan never done it! Magic never done it! Bird never dont it! I think it’s to much hype about this team and they’re lacking in so many areas but make up that in Lebron and D-Wade but there not gonna win a championship this year!

      • blueintown - May 23, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Your egregious assault on the english language aside, none of those former players ever had the need or desire to relocate because they were all surrounded by hall of famers throughout their careers. Or, to adjust it to your vernacular, they done never didn’t switch because they didn’t not need to not not to.

      • duane888 - May 23, 2012 at 5:44 PM

        Get over it already you dum-ass Cleveland fan. The man moved on. People are tired of hearing about it now.

      • caseybojangles - May 24, 2012 at 3:47 AM

        dont be an idiot…

        ever heard of wilt? came to a team with a couple guys named baylor and west
        how about jabbar? came to the same team with goodrich
        clyde drexler to houston with hakeem
        karl malone to the lakers with kobe and shaq
        earl monroe to the knicks with walt frazier
        shaq to the heat with wade
        robert parrish to the celtics with bird
        oscar robertson to the bucks with kareem

        just to name a few…all named to the 50 greatest players of all time btw.

        with free agency, its unlikely that players stay with one team for their entire career. even then there are only 36 players TOTAL that played for one team (more than 10 seasons), 20 of these are hall of famers and 6 more probably will be (but could fall of the list as 5 of them are active…but probably won’t leave their team)

        this is the long way of me saying GET OVER LBJ LEAVING THE CAVS

    • slopmcflop - May 23, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Why did you have to make a good point.

      And then end it with that sentence?

  2. ezmagic - May 23, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Battier won’t show up again for about 7-10 games. Just watch…

  3. mikejd12 - May 23, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    All those players you mentioned are better free throw shooters and always have been….come on man

    • coolzo39 - May 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      hey bro they’re all around players I’ve watched them for years! and that’s what’s missing playing every game like it’s your last Miami figure they can turn it off and on but when they come up against OKC or the Spurs they will fall apart!!! Watch!!

      • mikejd12 - May 23, 2012 at 3:56 PM

        Larry bird .886 percent free throw shooter, michael jordan .835 percent free throw shooter, kobe bryant .838 percent free throw shooter, lebron james .746 percent free throw shooter. As i said when for some reason i got 3 thumbs down the freakin other guys were better free throw shooters. Its not rocket science….Coolzo , so because lebron left his team he deserves hate??? Sooo you never left a job that youve had. Even if they have treated yo like crap? Guess not…… So because because mike ditka was the first tight end to go downfield he should be hated. The logic makes ZERO sense. “well no other superstar left his team” really you sure about that heres one for you SHAQUILLE ONEAL homie. Maybe think before you type. Shaquille oneal one of the best some may say the best center of all time left orlando to join forces with kobe. Did you hate him to? Who gives a crap….. You honestly think cleveland was ever going to win a championship with that roster. Let me drop some knowledge on you…..Lebron james left his team the cavs were HORRIBLE one of the worst teams in the league. Michael Jordan (the best player in the game) left his team and they made it to the playoffs the following season. Lebron had way to much on his shoulders and to ever get over the hump he had to go some where to get help. Same with shaq……….PEACE!

  4. canehouse - May 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I think what Dexter Pittman did has no place in basketball… but apparently he did to the right guy.

    Lance Stephenson is a first class loser scum bag… arrested for throwing his girlfried down a flight of stairs… and then took her head and hit on the bottom step.

  5. 11jlacy - May 23, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Send in the goon!!!!!

  6. justprofit84 - May 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Coming from a Clips/Lakes Fan The Heat will take the Eastern conference. There real trial will be in the Finals. Spurs will give them a run. The Thunder and the Heat will be the best series in this year if it were to workout that way.

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