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The real story: Indiana’s offense too much for Miami

May 29, 2013, 8:20 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game Four Getty Images

Indiana’s offense is going to find it hard to score on Miami and their turnovers — 15.2 percent of possessions in the playoffs, it was 16.2 percent in the regular season, second worst in the league — will get them in trouble.
—PBT Preview of the Eastern Conference Finals

I’m quoting myself but this was the general consensus coming into the series — Indiana’s defense could slow the Heat but their offense wouldn’t score enough to win them this series.

Four games in we don’t know who will win this series but we know one thing — Indiana can score on the Heat. A lot.

And that is why this series is tied 2-2. Miami’s offense has done well against the vaunted Pacers defense, but Miami’s aggressive defense has not been able to stop the Pacers. That is why Indiana has a real shot to pull the upset and advance to the NBA finals.

Behind great performances from Paul George and Roy Hibbert the Pacers have averaged 111.3 points per 100 possessions against the Heat this series. That is nearly 10 points better than their 101.6 points per 100 possessions this season (19th in the NBA). For some perspective, Miami had the best offense in the NBA for the regular season at 110.3 per 100. Indy has been better than that.

Tuesday night they had an offensive rating of 120 per 100. In the blowout loss of Game 3 they still scored 112.5 per 100, in Game 2 it was 112.7.

The Pacers are doing this by grabbing offensive rebounds on 39.9 percent of their missed shots (think about it, four out of 10 missed shots lead to a second chance) and   getting to the line more — they average 26.5 points a game at the line (stats via NBA.com). The Pacers also are taking fewer three pointers compared to the regular season, basically by cutting out the unassisted threes (few guys can create a three look of the bounce, so better not to take them). They also are just generally shooting a slightly higher percentage overall.

It all adds up. The free throws and offensive rebounds allow them to answer the Heat runs and not get buried (Game 3 being the exception). While the Pacers are turning the ball over (17 percent of their possessions) they aren’t paying a serious price for that.

While the Heat do need more out of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and he rest of LeBron James’ supporting cast on the offensive end, it is the other end of the floor that will be the key to who takes on the Spurs in the finals. If Indiana can keep up an offensive rate well above their season average, they have a legitimate shot at knocking off the Heat.

  1. rodge1 - May 29, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    The only chance the Heat have is via blowout. When the games are close the refs like to take over. Close games are supposed to be more exciting but the refs’ interference have made the close games unwatchable.

    • logisticalvoices - May 29, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Granted, the last call on LeBron was bogus, but the refs were calling a tight game in general. You have to adjust your game when the refs are quick to blow the whistle. LeBron didn’t and had no foul to give when the last call against him was made.

      If the fix was in, don’t you think it would be against Indy and not the Heat?

      • bnally62191 - May 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Bogus? Lebron clearly and intentionally stepped on Stephenson’s foot to keeo him from going after Wade in the paint. That was the right call, and even if it was a chippy call, it’s fair considering all the flopping he gets away with.

        Here’s a photo if you don’t believe me:

        http://larrybrownsports.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/lebron-james-lance-stephenson.jpg

  2. troy10 - May 29, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    90% of the country are Indiana fans right now…. GO INDY!

    • stlouis1baseball - May 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Welcome aboard Troy. We are glad to have you!

  3. sportsnut101 - May 29, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    What offense. Missed shots n put backs is not offense

    Pacers struggle to score on every other possession get the ball into the bigs. That’s the strength of the team

    N George hill u gotta go strong to hoop not weak layup

    N lance what can I say about one on four every other trip down floor. Gees play smart

    • Kurt Helin - May 29, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Actually, putbacks count the same as any other shot and count as offense, last time I checked.

    • anjohn39 - May 30, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      Are you dumb or just slow. The offense is the 7″3 Hiibbert and David west down low and they rebound very well. There’s not a whole lot of teams that really run a set offense anyways

  4. borderline1988 - May 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Miami’s defense is fine. Roy Hibbert can hit those awkward left-handed hook shots once in a while, but I don’t trust him to score consistently. David West is the only guy on Indiana that can score consistently in the half-court. Everyone else has had trouble.

    It’s the offensive boards that are just killing Miami. How many of Hibbert’s buckets came off tip-ins or grabbing a board and going back up? Even if it means cutting back on the fast-break opportunities, Spoelstra needs to have EVERYONE crash the boards.

    • biasedhomer - May 29, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      That’s what happens when you go small against a team that has a legitimate center who has been one of the best at grabbing offensive rebounds throughout the season.

  5. hoosiercolts - May 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I love all the Heat fans who, after a season of getting ALL the calls, are calling out the refs. They call a 24 second violation on a shot where the ball hit the rim TWICE!! And you think they’re out to get the Heat?? You all are freaking stupid.

    • troy10 - May 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      well.. that’s what happens when Miami gets all the calls their way the whole season… I guess you come to expect the calls to keep going your way… and then cry when they don’t.

    • truthbetoldforsure - May 29, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Yeah and that call was made up by fouling out LBJ. Common Pacers fan face the reality.

  6. mungman69 - May 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    No, David Stern wants Indy to go to the finals. He hates Miami.

  7. mickboogy - May 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    fix was in… stern wants this series to go to seven. the grizzlies and spurs match up ended quickly to put the spotlight on LBJ vs the big bad pacers. spurs vs heat in tje finals

  8. dolphins4 - May 29, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    The headlines should read the Refs too much for Miami.That was the worse officiated game I have ever saw last night.

  9. jbeagles23 - May 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    It’s 2 2 and Indy thinks they have the upper hand. Lol. They’re just front runners. But it’ll all come crashing down game 5 and 6

  10. mattryannolan - May 29, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Apparently when the Heat win it’s because they are just better than the other team that night but when they lose it’s never the players fault. Just give credit where credit is due. Last time I checked the refs weren’t contesting the Heat into a 1-6 shooting night from Bosh, 5-15 from Wade, or 4-13 from Allen. The Pacers only took 6 more free throws and the Heat committed 30 PFs to the Pacers 25. That isn’t that big of a difference. Just take a loss.

    • truthbetoldforsure - May 29, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      gimme a break. Pacers living on the bones thrown by the refs. The only credit Pacers will get is putting up an assisted fight with the help of the refs and Heat still won the seires. Only how many fouls called at the end of games should matter. Heat 4 phantom fouls called against them including Wade traveling in the closing minutes of the game. The series is tiedvHeat 2 – Refs2

      • gmsingh - May 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        Hey truthbetold, how is it that Roy Hibbert’s exceptional play is a “bone thrown by the refs”?

      • mattryannolan - May 29, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        Thank you for proving my point.

        You have no response from the horrible shooting from 3 of your 4 stars yet are quick to jump on calls by the refs. Yes on CLOSE examination after the fact on replay you could make a point to say they were wrong. You aren’t making the calls in real time like they are. Wade didn’t travel I get it. But the missed hit rim thus causing a 24 second violation cost the Pacers another put back by Hibbert. If the Heat lose this series (And I’m not saying they will) LeBron won’t point only to the refs but to the actual play of his team and the Pacers. Also I guess the refs caused those two costly turnovers by LeBron in game 2.

        Bad calls are a part of the game but to not talk about missed plays is just ignorant.

  11. reedme16 - May 29, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Like I’ve said the refs were bad both ways. But what I noticed the most was how Joey Crawford was overturning calls. It looked like he had something personal against Wade n Lebron. Those flopping comments might be the reason

  12. reedme16 - May 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    The shot clock play cost Indy 2pts.

    After Mia tied the game Wade got a steal on Hibbert costing him a fast break. Claimed he pulled him from behind in which Crawford couldn’t even see and Wade never touched him.

    Then with 3sec in the 3rd the baseline ref calls a foul on West. Crawford overturned the call and made it offensive giving the ball back to Indy were Lance hit a three. Mia would have shot free throws. 5 point swing.

    Offensive foul on Lebron. Yea he fouled out, but Wade was going for an easy drive. Another 2pts plus Lebron goes out.

    On the Wade traveling call Battier hit a trey.

    Obviously the refs were a factor in this game. The Pacers still had to hit the shots to win but people acting like they didn’t get a bit of help are crazy. But it comes with the territory, it will all even out. Just don’t want to hear all you Pacer fans and Heat haters hollering about conspiracy theories and the refs favoring Mia when it does.

    • rtfinch - May 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Those two points also would’ve made it an 11 point lead, instead Miami went on an 11-2 run to tie the game. Or how about lebron slapping Paul George’s arm going up for a layup, instead of a foul Miami is in a fast break. There were bad calls both ways, no one is getting any help from the refs

      • truthbetoldforsure - May 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Pacers are getting help from the refs otherwise the series would be over soon. They want it competitive enough to last it 6 or 7 games. Lebron did not foul Paul on the three point play neither there was much of a contact on Hibbert to be called for a foul. Stephenson ran and tripped(flop) himself with Lebron and got fouled out. If Yao got half the fouls calls Hibbert gets Yao would score 30 points a game. Heat will win the series and Pacers fan will see the reality.

  13. indychiefsfan - May 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Nobody ever gave us a shot and we were supposed to bow down and roll over for the king…..child please. We are going to shock the world! Gold Swagger Baby!

  14. djigel - May 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    This series has been riddled with bad officiating both ways – but I was always taught in any sport that you should not allow a game to be settled by the officials. Hit your shots, take advantage of your opportunities, and take the game out of their hands….it’s that simple.

  15. indychiefsfan - May 29, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    The refs have given Cry-ami more favors then any team in the post-season. The Pacers get a few and all of the sudden we dont belong on the same court as the Heat. Thats the difference between our team and Miami. We play solid defense and expect our bench to step up. Miami showcases 4 dirty players and gets the refs to pitch in. Built not bought baby.

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