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Pacers offense demolishes Heat defense in Game 1. Didn’t see that coming.

May 18, 2014, 7:43 PM EDT

Roy Hibbert, Paul George Roy Hibbert, Paul George


That’s the Pacers’ offensive rating in Game 1, the number of points they scored per 100 possessions in their opening game win of the Eastern Conference Finals. For some context, in the regular season the Clippers had the best offensive rating in the NBA at 109.4. The best in the playoffs has been Miami at 112.4. Indiana blew those numbers out of the water — in their 28 minutes together on the court the Pacers five starters averaged 141.7 points per 100 possessions.

That was the stunning aspect of Game 1. It was always likely the Pacers could make things tight because they had a defense built to slow the Miami offense. The question was always “where would the points come from?”

They came from wherever the Pacers wanted — Paul George had 24 points to lead six Pacers in double figures. What was shocking was the quality of looks the Pacers got and where they got them Indiana had 27 shots in the restricted area (basically lay-ups and dunks) and another 10 in the paint (that’s 47.4 percent of their shots in the paint) — and Indiana shot 73 percent on those. That doesn’t even account for the 37 free throw attempts the Pacers got, mostly because they were aggressive and went to the rim.

For one game, the Pacers were an offensive juggernaut and the Heat were a mess defensively. It’s fair to question, after watching them for the last few months, if the Pacers can replicate that kind of offensive performance. Based on their history you can expect a better Heat team in Game 2, one with more defensive energy.

But the Pacers set an offensive tone that gives them a chance in this series.

“We were just being aggressive off the bounce,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said in his post-game press conference broadcast on NBA TV. “We’re trying to be attack, force help and then share it. It’s a pretty simple plan but it’s not always the easiest to execute.”

Heat coach Eric Spoelstra may not want to eat before watching the game film.

“That’s probably just us at our worst defensively…” Eric Spoelstra said in his post game press conference. “If you had said coming into the game we had scored 96 and had more than 50 in the paint, I’d say we’d be in the drivers seat for a win if we do our normal, even anywhere close to our normal defense. That wasn’t the case….

“Our overall disposition needs to be much stronger, much tougher.”

From the opening tip the Pacers were able to get into their preferred sets, get to their preferred spots on the floor with entirely too little resistance from Miami. If David West catches the ball with one foot in the paint you have already lost, and that happened repeatedly. Roy Hibbert had 19 points and was able to get the ball in very deep position, then often three defenders would collapse on him and Hibbert would kick it out to an open shooter. Who knocked it down. As Vogel said it sounds simple but the Pacers haven’t been doing simple well of late.

Miami’s pick-and-roll defense also was a mess — they tried to be aggressive on hedges but the ball handler split the pick-and-roll (that happened a lot all game, especially by George) or the Pacers moved the ball to the weakside with a couple quick passes for a good look. Throughout their slump the Pacers had seemingly no movement on the weakside of their offense, it’s like they were spectators. In Game 1 on Sunday that movement was back and it opened things up. The Pacers ran a lot of 1-4 pick-and-roll with West popping out and Hibbert moving to the basket off the ball, that action slowed the Heat rotations (defenders were afraid to leave Hibbert and West) and the result was easy open buckets at the rim.

Usually you say here the ball is in Miami’s court to adjust, and it is. But a lot of that adjustment is just getting back to being their aggressive selves and disrupting the flow of Indiana’s offense. Don’t let the Pacers get to their spots. Don’t let them run the offense the way they want.

Indiana can exploit that with the kind of ball movement we saw on Sunday. The question is will they bring that again.

  1. kb2408 - May 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Yes, the Heat prevailed in 7 last season but even then it was obvious that Indy is not a good match up for them. Roy is still 7 ft, & 280. And West still terrorizes whoever Miami puts on him. Go ahead and wear LeBron out by putting him on West. I dare you, Spo.

    • antistratfordian - May 19, 2014 at 4:38 AM

      Miami was built to beat teams like Indiana – that’s probably why they have beaten them multiple times in the playoffs.

      Besides, Indiana always has a tougher time dealing with LeBron than Miami does dealing with Hibbert and West.

      • jkirby317 - May 20, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Sure did look like Indiana had a hell of a time against the powerful LeBron…oh wait, they beat the Heat? What? Crazy.

      • antistratfordian - May 20, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        Gotta beat him 4 times in 7 tries, Kirby. Good luck.

  2. kb2408 - May 18, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    This dude antistratfordian is so deep in denial it is hilarious! But you are quite entertaining. Obviously, you believed the hyperbole of not 1, not 2, not 16. With each Heat loss their PBT “fan-base” will become smaller and smaller.

    • antistratfordian - May 19, 2014 at 4:42 AM

      Since you never show up when Miami wins, when do you think we’ll see you around here again? Next season?

      • jkirby317 - May 20, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        Just be safe tonight. When the game is over and the Heat go down 0-2 in the ECF please don’t do anything crazy like delete your account. We all need to hear what you have to say about LeBron after game 2.

      • antistratfordian - May 20, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        You’re arrogant like the Pacers players. Where do you guys get that from? Because it hasn’t been from being proven winners.

    • billtetley53 - May 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      You are the LAST person to talk about being in denial, you dope!! Jesus, do youceven realize how hypocritical you are kb2408? You know, you get on me for being anti laker, cry that I should be banned from theses boards, yet here you are, doing the same things to Heat fans….. you are a pos idiot, and everyone on this site knows it. You’re a 44 year old man that behaves like a swooning middle school girl over Kobe, you are a dolt that know zilch about basketball, and you are a coward on top of it. Just quit posting. Nobody here will miss your predictable, know nothing posts.

  3. newyorkball82 - May 18, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Heat in 3

  4. newyorkball82 - May 18, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    The heat are in the pacers heads now. They let them win to let them think they were trying. They didn’t want to win this game. Game one doesn’t mean anything. The heat knew the pacers would win so they let them. Now it’s all heat from here on out. Lebron will have 100, 80, 75, and 88 to close out the series.

    • money2long - May 19, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      The heat knew the pacers would win , so they let them ?
      Repeat that to yourself.

    • jkirby317 - May 20, 2014 at 6:52 PM

      It does mean something in the record column but we get what you are saying. When someone says a cut-up on someone… just say “nuh-uh” and it doesn’t count.

  5. moseskkim - May 18, 2014 at 11:47 PM

    I stilk think miami will win. Pacrs havent been consistent allseason. Dwest and maybe paul george can be consistent but lance, and especially hill/hibbert are not consistent at all. When that happens, cj watson and scola/mahinmi must step up. However, fror miami to win all you need is lbj to go nuts. When hes ON, hes dishing scoring everything making everyone better. Moneys on miami in 7

  6. cwilson6843 - May 18, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    You guys are premature. The pacers played great tonight. The heat played good as well. The difference is freethrows. The pacers were gettin the calls. But you can’t count the heat out after one game. Yall know better than that. This is gonna be a great series. Heat in 7

  7. golfrangeman - May 19, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Jkerby317 you can’t possibly be this ignorant every team in the nba pays there players, coaches, ext.. Time to get an education before you post anymore.

    • jkirby317 - May 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Do you really think that I believe one NBA franchise has decided to not pay anyone money for their services NCAA style?
      BUILT NOT BOUGHT is a saying that Indiana Pacers fans say to Miami Heat supporters to illustrate the difference between the way that the two franchises structured their rosters. Indiana BUILT their team using shrewd and calculated business decisions. They added 5 FA signings. DWEST, Copeland, Watson, Butler, and Sloan.
      David West is a starter. The others are just that… other guys. They are not stars and just make up the bench and garbage time players.
      Miami on the other hand signed 3 max level players on the same day. (LBJ, Wade, and Bosh). This drastically changed the look of the team in South Beach and made them instant contenders with an expiration date of this summer (They can all opt out). In addition to the “Big 3” Miami has to round out its roster with below average level talent.
      The Indiana Pacers created a team over years of decision making and moves. The Heat turned their team around on a single Thursday.

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