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Aggressive Heat defense, too much LeBron, Wade give Heat Game 7 win

Jun 4, 2013, 12:29 AM EDT

Miami Heat's LeBron James stands with Dwyane Wade during their NBA Eastern Conference final playoff against the Indiana Pacers in Miami Reuters

Miami simply has another gear no other team in the NBA can hit.

Like a top fuel dragster they cannot sustain it for long, but a couple times a series they can simply overwhelm you with their pressure, their athleticism, just take you out of your game and rhythm. They can just blow you out of the water for a quarter or a half, and teams just can’t recover.

That is what the Heat did in Game 7. After an ugly first quarter they outscored the Pacers 33-16 in the second quarter, the Heat’s pressure forcing a rash of Pacers’ turnovers, and the result was a 99-76 easy win for Miami.

The Miami Heat advance to the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 is Thursday night in Miami.

Just a few numbers to give you an idea of how much the Heat dominated this game, particularly with their defense:

• Indiana turned the ball over on 23.1 percent of their possessions — one in 4.5 trips down the court. They had 21 total turnovers, 15 in the first half (they might have pulled away from the Heat early were it not for the turnovers).

Roy Hibbert had 8 rebounds for Indiana, Dwyane Wade had 9.

• Wade had 6 offensive rebounds alone, the Pacers had 8.

• After having an offensive rating of 111.6 (points per 100 possessions) through 5 games of this series, they had 83.7 points per 100 in Game 7. Miami’s rating was 110.3 (which is close to their season average).

The defensive end is where the Heat’s energy and aggression really showed — they doubled in the post, they got hands in passing lanes, they crashed the boards and they took away any easy buckets for the Pacers. Then they converted the missed shots into transition points and turnovers. LeBron James guarded Paul George and put him in a straightjacket — 2-of-9 shooting for George. Miami got the pace they wanted, they forced the Pacers’ defense to cross-match and then the Heat exploited their advantages.

NBA Finals preview: Breaking down Spurs vs. Heat

“They taught us a lesson,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said after the game. “They’ve been to the (Finals), they’ve won it all and they know how to ratchet up their defense to a level that just imposes their will on a basketball game.”

This was actually a close game through the first quarter, but with it a one-point game in the second quarter Frank Vogel say Roy Hibbert and Paul George at the same time, and the Heat went on an 11-2 run with those two sitting and once they got going it was over.

LeBron was LeBron — 32 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists — but the key was he got help on offense. Dwyane Wade looked rejuvenated and had 21 points, he was attacking the paint and getting rebounds again. Ray Allen chipped in 10, including three three-pointers. Miami started knocking down outside shots on kick outs and when that happens they are impossible for even the best defense to stop.

This was a great season for the Pacers, and in the NBA players and teams need to learn how to win. These Heat had to lose in the Finals before they won. Heck, Michael Jordan had to learn hard lessons from the Pistons before he became an icon.

Heat rise to occasion in their biggest game of year

The Pacers got one of those lessons Monday night, and it’s not fun for them.

For the Heat, it’s just another step. They are going to need more out of Wade, they are going to need more out of Chris Bosh, they are going to need more defensive nights like this against a Spurs team that will not flinch under pressure.

But there still will be a game or two where the Heat can just overwhelm and impose their will. If you doubt that, ask the Pacers.

  1. miamatt - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Suffocating defense, great energy and aggression all around for Miami. Even when shots weren’t falling early, the Heat kept attacking the paint.

    Hat tip to the Indiana Pacers- Paul George and Roy Hibbert in particular- they were tremendous this series.

    • WatchThis - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      This is the Finals we all wanted, well, except for the Spurs.

  2. savvybynature - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    I doubt it. The Pacers and the Spurs are not comparable. One team’s offense is led by a young combo guard, and the other is led by an experienced veteran pg who is arguably one of the best players in the league.
    And beyond that, the Spurs as a whole do a much better job of running their offense with pace and getting into their motion sets, which are extremely varied and which they run very well.
    I don’t think the Heat will overwhelm the Spurs at any point like they did in game 7 against Indy. Athleticism helps a lot, but when an offense executes they will make you think instead of just react and it becomes pick your poison. That’s why proper floor spacing and off-the-ball movement and screens are so important, and why Pop has emphasized it so much over the years.

  3. dolphindubs - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    I love Paul George, love his game, but can we now stop with this annointment of him as a superstar. He is an awesome talent, and a full-fledged All-Star, but definitely not the SUPERSTAR that everyone is trying to make him out to be.

    And for those that want to claim he IS a superstar, then everyone needs to ride him hardcore for his 7/7/4 stat line with only 9 shots taken and overall horrible play in a game 7.

    • wrigleyivy - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:41 AM

      The heat dominated. Period, big ups and I hope the East brings it home. BUT to go out and discredit PG for his line and overall JUMP, is a mistake. The Pacer philosophy involves all five heavily involved and granted, he had a bad game, didn’t hit his shots, and had trouble pinning down the best player on Earth.

      Have you seen LeBron have more respect for an individual player on this stage?!

      Given the solidarity of our franchise, the maturity at his age (just turned 23!), who’s to say PG won’t become an annual MVP candidate?

    • gostlcards5 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:24 AM

      Actually, no, I don’t think people will stop with the superstar talk for PG.
      – First, you want to refer to DWade as a superstar? He had 6 bad games in this series, and PG only had 1 (clearly, Wade has been where PG wants to go).
      – Second, it’s not about him being as good as LeBron or KD, but about the huge step he took forward in this season, and more particularly in this series. The kid has great talent on both sides of the ball, good work ethic, and the desire to be best. If he retains that, he will be a top 5 player in the league within the next 2 years.

    • hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      They blowed them out! Now, that’s more like it. Should have been over long ago. The pacers are limited.

      • gostlcards5 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Totally agree. They got very little bench production in the series, unlike against the Knicks. That was hurt by Granger’s injury, but you can’t deny that they played with heart and took a huge step forward for such a young team, taking the Heat to 7 games. NO ONE thought that was going to happen….everyone picked the Heat in 4-6.

    • aboogy123456 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      Paul George definitely can be a super superstar in the next couple of years, he improved a lot this year and he will continue to improve. He’s one of the best defenders in the league, he has great athleticism, and is a great 3 point shooter. The things that will propel him to superstar status are controlling his turnovers, improving his mid range game, and getting better at dominating one on one matchups. He’s already improved his ball handling skills a lot from last year, and I think with his work ethic, he will improve in these areas and the sky is the limit for him.

      • gostlcards5 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Agree…biggest thing he needs to do is learn to get good-to-decent shots with a great defender on him. If Indy expects to run the offense through him as they did in much of this series, he has to be able to do that, and LBJ (while clearly one of the best defenders in the league by a large margin) completely shut him down last night.

        But like I said, his potential is huge, and I expect that he will be the face of the Pace for a long time to come.

  4. reddolfan66 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    Congrats to Indy on a tough 7 game series pacer fans should be proud of your team, now the rest of u the Spurs bandwagon heading to Miami all aboard Go Heat!!!

  5. itsonlyaspeedbump - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    Hats off to the Pacers man. Lost in all the anti-Heat hysteria by the commenters on this blog prior to game 7 is that Indy is truly one of the best teams in the league and they will be competing for championships against the Heat and Bulls for the next several seasons. I feel like they are the OKC of the East–very young and a force to be reckoned with. (the difference being Indy has a tough, defensive identity while OKC is flashy and known for the offensive brilliance of its 2 superstars. And no, I dont think Indy is better than OKC.)

    Also, cheer up LBJ/Heat Haters. SA is already the favorite to win, so if and when they do order will be restored to the universe. The media will go back to calling Lebron a choker-quitter-fraud, and you can go back to gleefully calling him even worse names on every sports blog out there :)

  6. funktron2x - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    I don’t know how I’ll make it to Thursday. I haven’t been this excited since the first time I saw a girl naked. I really think my Spurs can win it, and if they do, think of the legen-(wait for it)—–daryness of it for Timmy and co. But im also scared as hell that the Heat will hit max potential and run us out of the building.

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Jun 4, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      Dude, I don’t know what kind of girls you get to see naked, but my TV is going off the moment my finance starts stripping, I don’t care what game is on.

  7. thekingdave - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    Wait a second, did a Heat fan just refer to another fan base as bandwagon? Coming from someone who resides in the most lackadaisical sports cities in America? Calling out a small market team with one of the most loyal fan bases in the NBA? Oh man.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      He’s referring to everybody outside the city of San Antonio who starting last night became Spurs fans. The same group that were Pacers fans for the last 2 weeks. Bulls fans before that. Bucks fans before that…..

  8. rickyspanish - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    Beat down.

  9. cantonbound13 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    Well done Stern. He wasn’t available for comment, was busy celebrating with Arison.

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Dude, get over yourself. Don’t be mad that the Heat did what your precious Knicks could not.

    • nard100 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Sad. With nothing left to talk about, the only refuge you have is Stern? Shameful. Embarrassing.

    • bigrele - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Ha! Typical response from a sore losing pathetic Knicks fan lol, must suck ta be a Knick fan watching your hated rival the Heat with their 4-time MVP going to their 3rd straight NBA Finals huh? So much for those 3 wins against the Heat in the regular season, where’s your butt-buddy MrWright? Ask him bout that pitiful ridiculous theory again, that supposed theory of your precious overrated Knicks being built to beat the Heat, ha! *smh* wonder how that’s possible when the Knicks with home court in a series against the Pacers couldn’t even push it to 7 games, lmao!

  10. sportfan2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    Some of the worst Pro Basketball I’ve ever seen last night. I knew if Pacers were to win they COULD not turn the ball over a lot. Horrendous passes, dribble into double teams. Guys just standing around. But their biggest problem was that they have no Lebron :)

  11. 13arod - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    no homo roy ribbert

  12. hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Paul George is clearly not ready for prime time. Ha!

  13. jbeagles23 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    The heat can impose their will on any team. These last two series were against much bigger stronger teAms. San Antonio is going to have a lot more trouble than people think

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      This is what I’ve been saying. Again, not taking anything away from the Spurs because they will go down as one of the best trios in NBA history. But I think the age and the pace of this series will favor the Heat. Remember, the heat lack size and they just got through two series where the size match ups did not favor them (and yes, I know the Bulls weren’t at full strength but the Heat beat them 2 years ago with a healthy D. Rose). The Spurs simply don’t have the size that bothers the Heat.

      • savvybynature - Jun 4, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        The Spurs starting lineup features two 6′ 11″ players. That’s more size than either the Pacers or Bulls starting frontcourt.
        Granted, the Spurs don’t bring a lot of size off the bench, but the Spurs also have an all-NBA point guard and Manu Ginobili to go with that size. The Bulls and Pacers don’t have anyone comparable to that in terms of playmakers.

  14. jjones314 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    The Spurs should win this easily. They have the better coach, the better overall team, lots of veteran leadership, championship experience, and who can guard Tony Parker? The dude is a beast.

    Spurs should sweep.

    • hehateme2 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Man are you delusional. Pain is coming for you!

    • bcwildcat24 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Kind of like, “Who can guard Paul George?” Oh wait….

    • nard100 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Did Frank Vogel put you up to that nonsense. His apoplectic look last night was priceless.

      Game 7 Jeopardy

      Answer- No one
      Question – Who is going to step up this quarter and get this thing down to 10 [point lead]

      It was just awesome watching him go through all the stages of grief in a single quarter – surprise (not really), bargaining, anger, grief and then acceptance.

  15. jjones314 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    George is a star no doubt. He’s had to guard the opposing team’s best player in almost every series and that can take its toll.

    He dealt with Melo and then LBJ. Neither is an easy defensive assignment for anybody.

  16. gostlcards5 - Jun 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    First of all, much deserved win for the Heat. Their D was awesome, and Indy made too many mistakes (as I mentioned back in the beginning of this thing) that gave them no conceivable shot to win. If Indy makes some smart moves to get more depth, they’re only going to get better.

    Also, I would like to say, that headline picture on the NBA page of the Big 3, especially with Bosh holding DWade, is just cute and priceless…

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