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Pacers find their offense, find balance, find Heat’s respect

May 25, 2013, 1:49 AM EDT

Heat's Chalmers fouls Pacers' Hibbert during Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference final playoff in Miami Reuters

Coming into this series, the Miami Heat gave the proper lip service to respecting the Indiana Pacers, but did they really respect them? The Heat had gone 45-3 since Feb. 3, you had to wonder if the Pacers really had their attention

They do now.

The question going into this series wasn’t if the Pacers defense could make life challenging for Miami — the Pacers were the best defensive team in the NBA this season and we had seen their size and length push Miami before. They could hold their own on that end of the court

The question was on the other end — how would the Pacers score enough against Miami’s pressure defense?

Friday night they figured it out — balance. The Pacers adjusted to the Heat’s aggressiveness, had just 13 turnovers, they got the ball to Roy Hibbert and he put up 29 points to lead all five Pacers starters in double figures. The Heat couldn’t stop that balance. And we now have a 1-1 series.

The Pacers had an offensive rating of 112.7 points per 100 possesions — 11 points higher than their season average. If the Pacers keep this up, they will have more than just the Heat’s attention.

Indiana got the Game 2 win thanks to their starters — their starting five was +23 on the night (every other Pacers lineup combined to be -19). Paul George held his own with LeBron James and the Pacers gave their star better support.

While the Pacers starters were a great unit, the Heat had three guys in double figures — LeBron had another monster night 36 points, but after that you had just Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in double figures (and each shot a pedestrian 6-of-14). All of the rest of the Heat were 8-of-25 (32 percent) and 2-of-10 from three.

“Take nothing away from their big three, but we’ll take a big five any day. That’s what we have,” Paul George said after the game (via the twitter of Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post).

Hibbert was a big part of that with his size and how he fought for position much harder this game.

“He’s giving great efforts on the offensive glass, six offensive boards,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after the game. “And he goes every single time, he doesn’t take a possession off on the glass. He gives us a lift in the post, efficient scoring, passing. Just making winning plays.”

But the other key to that was much improved play from George Hill and Lance Stephenson as the guards (Stephenson was very up and down, brilliant one moment and a mess the next). The Pacers had just 13 turnovers down from 20 in Game 1 (although it was still near 1-in-five trips down the court) and that limited the easy transition baskets for the Heat.

Miami has depth — they won 66 games this season because of great ball movement and solid play from guys like Ray Allen and Shane Battier. But outside the energy of Chris Andersen off the bench, Miami feels like three stars and some guys right now. The ball isn’t moving side-to-side — and when LeBron tried late in the game David West got his hands on them. Miami’s offense looks stagnant. They got a win with play from Andersen, but the Heat need other guys to step up.

As the game moves back to Indiana, if this series remains three on five — and two-thirds of the Heat’s three playing up and down — Indiana will have more than the Heat’s attention.

  1. daddyghi - May 25, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    yep! havnt seen a lot of roy hibbert and paul george but yeah… they deserve respect! they’re not push overs… now i see why the knicks got knocked off…

  2. halfbaht - May 25, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    Now some of these fools might take heed to what I’ve been saying since the beginning of the playoffs. Indiana have always been the biggest threat to the heats eastern crown

    • money2long - May 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      helps to be healthy, ya think ?

  3. mungman69 - May 25, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Well, we will now see what Miami is made of. They need more help from their role players. The Heat are deeper than the Pacers but the Heat bench must show more for the Heat to win. The Pacers are no fluke, they are ready to win. Is it the Pacer defense that has the Heat on the ropes?

    • dgbk - May 25, 2013 at 3:38 AM

      Battier is avg 1.5 ppg but but playing over 20 mins a game the heat need to hide him on the bench. Speaking of respect. David West has been guarded by carmelo, anthony, iman shumpert, jr smith, ray allen, and shane battier in the pacers last few games. He didnt have a great game 2 but made a clutch basket at the end of the game over allen. I wouldnt want allen guarding him in the post with two mins left but thats just me. This guy is a two time all star for a reason.

      • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        They need a flops per game stat for him.

  4. louhudson23 - May 25, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    Best of five.

  5. elnogo - May 25, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    Wow. I think I have another player to root for. PG is for real. I wish he stay healthy.

  6. thekingdave - May 25, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    I was just about to make a comment about how my favorite time to comment on a PBT post is the weekend because Helin is AWOL. Then you show up and squash that thought to the ground. Thanks.

  7. davidly - May 25, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    I cannot say the extent to which the Heat players and/or coaching staff might have lacked respect for the Pacers, but my guess would be that they did not underestimate them in the least, and that the last two games are simply the result of two teams that are matched up pretty well playing it out. We see it series after series time and time again, year after year. One team up, another team down. Back and forth and so on. That’s what the series is about. But, we talk about it again and again as if we never experienced this.

    I mean, the very idea that Miami was in any way overlooking Indiana seems absurd on the face of it. But if they were–even in the back of their collective unconscious–imagining this would be an easier series, I suppose it would have to be because they were feeling more their easy win at home in March, instead of the two regular season losses in Indianapolis months before that; or maybe Granger’s absence has a psychological effect; or their having improved from .697 in ’12 to .804 this season, compared to the Pacers going the other direction (from .636 to .597); or they recall rather their three straight victories to take last year’s conference semifinals, so dwelled less about the fact that they were down in that series.

    Indeed, maybe they are confident enough to blow them out four straight games regardless of the series standing. In that case–as all others–the players still do the walking and/or talking. You will certainly hear pros expressing confidence, even brashly so, but tellingly, you won’t hear the guys who actually have to play the games talking about how they are going to cream them in the next game, or some such…)

    Bold talk and brash predictions are for the commenters here, like this one just a couple days ago:
    brokerhenry – May 23, 2013 at 7:08 AM
    You are talking out of your rear end without anything to back it up. Indiana averaged 15.1 turnovers per game during the regular season. The Heat averaged 13.9.

    Do you seriously think the Heat are going to play as rotten as they did in this game again? Face reality. This was Indiana’s chance and they blew it. I’ll be goddamned if the Heat do not smack the shizznit out your team next time. Come back here and tell me you told me so if I am wrong. This was the best Indy could manage. It will not be enough by a long shot.

    However this series plays out, we may now consider “brokerhenry” “goddamned” (his words, not mine). I suppose it’s innocent enough; it’s not like he was sending other people’s kids off to war with his cocky attitude, just playing Typical Sports Fan.

    Me, I ain’ makin’ no predictions. I just hope the Pacers go up 2-1 again this year. And I would hope they haven’t forgotten the three straight losses thereafter last time. If I were a Heat fan, on the other hand, I dunno if I would rather that a sleeping giant had just been awoken, or that they were just so good that they could lolly-gag through three games and then turn it on when they have to. If the former were the case, it would seem that complacency were a problem, if the latter, overconfidence.

    And while I think that anyone can suffer from complacency, it would less-likely be the world champs in the second home game of the conference finals. And does overconfidence really lead to a game two loss after such a scare in game one? I don’t see it. I rather think it is more the nature of the game when two teams are trying to win a seven game series.

    On to race day!!

  8. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 25, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    I’m no Heat hater. I’m not rooting for any of the two, but…

    … this Pacers team somehow reminds me of the Pistons ’04.

  9. cantonbound13 - May 25, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    Heat find reality. Enough with the best ever talk. They are clearly a flawed team.

  10. simonwelds - May 25, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    Deja vu from last year, Wade had two terrible games… People said he was done then he showed the world 30 pts then 40 pts and it was over…… For some reason the Heat bask in being the bad guy on the road… Heat 4-2

    • emosnar - May 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      lol delusional. Wishin on history to repeat itself. Pacers lost last year due to immaturity and the fact the didnt think they could beat the heat so stopped playing their game and tried to punk them (granger). That scenario is not repeating itself this year. 4-1 Pacers. Should already be 2-0 on them suckas.

  11. simonwelds - May 25, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Do u guys know how many times jordan was pushed to the brink in playoff series.. Do ur homework before you comment

  12. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 25, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Said after game 1 that Cole/Allen/batter had to shoot better than 2-16 and that the Heat couldn’t miss 9 FTs if they wanted to beat the Pacers if the Pacers were playing their best.

    Those 3 shot 3-14 in Game 2, and the Heat missed 8 FTs in Game 2.

    Dudes. Shoot 40% from 3, and shoot 75-80% from the FT line, and this series is ours. Not easily ours, but ours.

  13. mat9844 - May 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Happy to see the Pacers pull this one out, in spite of the refs.

    • hmax13 - May 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      The NBA not only has the refs in their pocket, but apparently Lance Stephenson too…

      • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Lance Stephenson was looking like the Pacers’ version of Nate Robinson.

  14. money2long - May 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    people forget…the pacers are doing all this without danny granger, who is a starting nba player. dam

  15. bucrightoff - May 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I really wanna see the Pacers with a chance to close the series out. Should be the most entertaining game to watch refs ever. Miami might get 70 free throws.

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