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Heat overcome slow start, run away with Game 3 win over Pacers

May 25, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

Lance Stephenson, LeBron James Lance Stephenson, LeBron James

The Indiana Pacers may have struggled late in the regular season, but they were built with the specific intent of beating this Miami Heat team. And they’ve been largely up to that challenge, including in Game 3, where the combination of the league’s top defense and a size advantage on the offensive end bullied Miami in the early going, with the Pacers looking every bit like legitimate contenders in building a 15-point lead that held late into the second quarter.

But the Heat adjusted, and didn’t just mount a comeback — they exploited every advantage possible. Behind efficient performances from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, along with a devastating fourth quarter from Ray Allen, Miami cruised to a 99-87 victory that gave the team a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

In the first half, it was David West, Roy Hibbert and Luis Scola punishing the Heat inside. The trio combined for 27 of Indiana’s 42 points, 24 of which were scored in the paint as the Pacers shot better than 53 percent over the game’s first 24 minutes. Miami, meanwhile, couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, scoring just five points in the first nine and a half minutes, while turning the ball over seven times during that span.

In the second half, however, the Heat stabilized. They implemented a full-court press that forced the issue for an offensively-challenged Pacers team, and were able to get rolling offensively thanks to Wade’s 10 points in the third, and Allen’s 13 points in the fourth.

That was largely the difference. Indiana can defend for only so long, before the matchups begin to fail and the Heat find ways to work them to their advantage. David West was assigned to Allen for much of the final period, and you just can’t have one of the game’s most historically deadly shooters being left open on rotations if you expect to compete with the defending champs. Allen was 4-of-4 from three-point distance in the fourth, and those shots were all back-breakers that helped push the Heat’s advantage to an insurmountable margin.

Wade continued his extremely efficient series in finishing with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, and Chris Bosh continued to be largely ineffective while finishing with just nine points and four rebounds, on just 4-of-12 shooting in only 23 minutes of action.

The Pacers were constructed properly, and undoubtedly have the talent and the personnel to compete with this Heat team. But they’ll need to execute at maximum levels on both ends of the floor for more than half the game in order to have a chance in this series. And right now, after two consecutive comeback wins, Miami seems to be gaining all kinds of confidence in realizing it has simply too much for Indiana to deal with for extended stretches.

  1. miamatt - May 25, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    It puts the lotion on its skin.

    • void96eater - May 25, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      What is this a reference to? (I don’t get around. Sorry ;-;)

      • fanofthegame79 - May 25, 2014 at 1:21 AM

        Silence of the Lambs. Watch that movie.

    • spthegr8 - May 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      @Matt
      It does this whenever it’s told……………..PUT THE F’N LOTION IN THE BASKET!!!!!!!

  2. ProBasketballPundit - May 25, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    I thought playing Haslem & Rashard Lewis was iffy coaching… but then I saw David West “guarding” Ray Allen for crucial minutes in the 4th quarter.

    • zoomy123 - May 25, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      Erik Spoelstra never gets the credit he deserves as a coach.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - May 25, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      Rashard was in because of CB’s foul trouble. Whether Spo actually expected him to be as effective as a defender as he was against David West is a question I wish someone had asked in Spo’s presser – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Rashard going forward. It would be nice if he could still shoot the 3 as well as he used to to get to #8 on the all-time list, but I’ll take what he did on D as a good day’s work.

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 25, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        I meant to say it was iffy playing those two big minutes… not just playing them period. But yeah I’m surprised Rashard defended West as well as he did. It just drives me nuts to watch him wind up and shoot these awful bricks & airballs. Haslem too. Those guys have lost their shot. But I guess that doesn’t mean they’re useless; and the Heat managed to score pretty effectively anyway.

  3. pantsfreezone - May 25, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    I just want to give a shoutout to EVERY.SINGLE. POSTER. that mentioned Wade’s knees or called him washed up or called him gimpy.

    Exit’s that way. Show yourselves out.

  4. jzone954 - May 25, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Lebron on west , Cole on Lance has changed this completely.

  5. nfl4days - May 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    The pacers forgot 5 things:
    1. Basketball has 4 quarters
    2. Don’t leave Ray Allen open in the corner
    3. Make sure Ray Allen isn’t open in the corner
    4. Never let Ray Allen get open in the corner
    5. DO NOT LEAVE RAY ALLEN OPEN IN THE CORNER

    • kghane - May 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM

      6. Don’t leave Ray Allen open, period.

    • flexingbastard - May 25, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      is it okay to leave threesus open in the corner?

  6. dolphindubs - May 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    One of these days Spoelstra will get the credit he deserves.

    One of these days…

    • kghane - May 25, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      A lot of people think it’s easy to coach this team with so much talent, yet it takes a lot to contain egos, remain calm under pressure & make smart basketball plays. I would think the first coach to defeat the great Gregg Popovich in the Finals would deserve more credit. People don’t give it to him.

  7. antistratfordian - May 25, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    This is the third straight game where Miami has shot over 50% against the league’s #1 defense. I just can’t see how the Pacers offense is going to be able to keep up.

    • void96eater - May 25, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      Another troubling stat for Indiana. 29 boards. Not only is that well below their playoff/season average, it also tied Miami’s amount for the night. They couldn’t capitalize on their only real advantage over their rival.

      • soopreme - May 25, 2014 at 8:17 AM

        And Hibbert with 2 rebounds and 0 blocks at 7’2″.
        Just pathetic!!!

      • borderline1988 - May 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        Hibbert is an amazing defender at the rim, but his lack of mobility (and West’s) are evident.

        The most effective player in this game? Dwayne Wade. The Pacers have no answer when he gets into the paint and drops back for easy 10-foot jumpshots or floaters. Roy Hibbert can challenge Lebron at the rim, but he isn’t comfortable guarding Wade in that situation. If he jumps out too much, Wade will either get a foul call, or upfake Hibbert and make him look foolish.

        If I’m Spoelstra, I’m having Wade go around picks and into the paint all game long. Force Indiana’s big man to hedge Wade on the opposite side of the pick. Make Indiana’s bigs start to move…they’re not built to do that

    • moppop - May 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      And yet the Heat haven’t broken 100….

      Keep in mind the Indiana also shot over 50% when they had the streak of turnovers. Once again, you’re skewing the stats.

      • antistratfordian - May 25, 2014 at 7:02 PM

        Breaking 100 is completely arbitrary. But making most of your shots while your opponent is missing most of their shots is not.

        Nobody is skewing stats. The Heat are the only team in the league who shot over 50% from the field on the season – so it’s not like this is totally unexpected. The Pacers offense isn’t nearly as effective, so no one expects them to be able to keep up with Miami’s.

        In essence, there really was no way the Pacers were ever going to win this series.

  8. brokerhenry - May 25, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    This was Indiana’s chance to steal a game. They did not. Expect the Heat to come out from the get go in game 4, with the determination to go up 3-1. It will be a slugfest. But I think the Heat go up 3-1. Indy had a chase to steal this game. Now the Heat will play their heads off in game 4. What a series this is going to be!!!

  9. jzone954 - May 25, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    And Then there’s the ignorance of thinking Wade is finished…

    • jimeejohnson - May 25, 2014 at 1:37 AM

      Ignorance caused by hate.

  10. jbeagles23 - May 25, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    Lance and George can’t co exist. Both can play superb basketball but not together

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 25, 2014 at 12:19 AM

      Lance Stephenson can’t coexist with the rational world.

    • realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 3:43 AM

      I don’t buy this. The Pacers simply need a point guard, badly I might add. George should never be handling the ball in crunch time moments, but he does because he’s one of their best players. If you had a true point guard with Stephenson as the backup option handler, that could work.

      Also, at this point I think it’s safe to say Vogel is offensively limited as a coach. We see this, especially in reverse with the offensively minded coaches like D’Antoni and Don Nelson. They either need to get him an offensive guru on the bench or replace him with a more well-rounded coach.

      But one other thing contributes to this, george and Stephenson are quite a few levels from being as good as Waide and James. The latter two are going to be all time greats when it’s said and done, George and Stephenson are not. I don’t know in what world people expect them to outshine their counterparts in Miami in a series where it’s best of 7. The only reason they give Miami some problems is because West and Hibbard are a matchup problem, but it’s not enough to overcome these other factors in a 7 game series. They could win a championship if they make the suggested tweaks to their roster and coaching staff and wait around either until this bunch is a few years older and can squeak one in like the Mavs did out West when the rest of the league was in a transition mode. Otherwise, I don’t ever see it happening honestly.

      • leahcima1 - May 25, 2014 at 7:47 AM

        Are you serious?

  11. jayrandle - May 25, 2014 at 12:17 AM

    Great win by Miami!

    Horrible 1st quarter by Miami.
    Turnovers hurt both teams especially Pacers in 2nd half.
    Refs were horrible tonight…those calls against Haslem and Bosh was terrible.

    Vogel never makes adjustments…
    1st example: against Miami press defense
    2nd example: staying with West on guarding Ray Allen.

    Stephenson was taken out of the game by Lebron and Cole defense.
    Mario Chalmers did somebody forgot to tell you the playoffs started?
    Chris Bosh looks like a bench player not part of the big 3 but again those calls by the refs were horrible.
    Rashad Lewis was excellent on Defense tonight.

    When Miami have a role player shooting 3s they are unbeatable.

    Dwayne Wade is having an MVP series performance.

    • realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 3:47 AM

      When I see Miami come out like that at home, I’m convinced that’s the strip club/Club Live/Club fill in the blank in South Beach haze wearing off.

      • mydoghasfleez - May 25, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Dwayne can spend as much time in the clubs as he wants in my opinion.
        Wish he’d take me along with him.

  12. ProBasketballPundit - May 25, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Anybody have any idea what Michael Beasley did to Spoelstra to get benched for the last couple months? With Battier, Haslem, Rashard Lewis all shooting terribly and Mike Miller gone they could really use a shooter.

    • thekiller678 - May 25, 2014 at 12:24 AM

      Doesn’t play defense

    • pantsfreezone - May 25, 2014 at 12:28 AM

      Beasley’s a liability mentally. He lapses on defense and takes one step inside the 3 point line jumpshots. He’s like a really bad version of Bosh. Or Bosh vs. Indiana, I guess.

      • ProBasketballPundit - May 25, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        He definitely takes too many long 2’s but considering he shot a career high 51.8% on 2-point shots I thought he’d earned at least a short stint or two off the bench. I have to give Rashard Lewis some credit for playing great D tonight… but he couldn’t score a single point.

    • kghane - May 25, 2014 at 12:34 AM

      You just answered your own question. Heat aren’t looking for shooters against the best perimeter defending team in the NBA. Miami is looking for containing the inside with good defense so it can hopefully translate into offense. Beasley is not a superb defender. I would be think Beasley would have his moment like Miller & Battier did in the Finals. Miami will bring him out eventually.

    • toycannoni - May 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      DEFENSE….ya gotta bring the d when it counts….beasley needs to work on it to say the least

      definitely something riles and micky arison need to look at for next year

      if they want the king to stay, they need to get a few strong offensive weapons around him, that can play some d also

      bosh is way over paid, to be putting up the weak stats he’s delivering….if you can’t score then pull down some rebs….just terrible

      arison is going to have to pay some luxury tax if he keeps the big 3 intact and adds some help

      the GOAT can’t keep carrying dead weight the way he has had to do this year

  13. miamiHeatlesnotBeatles - May 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    People 4 get Popovich had to counter against Coach Spo last year. Spo started Mike Miller in Gm4 and Pop started Ginobli in Gm5. Spo is awesome man

  14. kghane - May 25, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    What I learned from this game:

    1. Don’t let Lance Stephenson run your offense.
    2. Wade’s demise has been greatly exaggerated.
    3. David West guarding Ray Allen is a bad idea.
    4. LeBron James is still the best player in the world.
    5. The Pacers are still challenged mentally.
    6. Ray Allen is lying about his age.

    • soopreme - May 25, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      I concur about #6.
      I have this vision my head where Lebron goes up to Ray after the game and says “If you even think about retiring I will kill you”

  15. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 25, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    10

  16. goldmember21 - May 25, 2014 at 12:48 AM

    Where are the pacer fans?!?! Hahaahahaa

    Jesus eating chicken from the 3 point line!’!!!!

    • moppop - May 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      “goldmember21 – May 25, 2014 at 12:50 AM
      Where are the pacer fans?!?!? Hahahahahahahahahh

      Jesus eating chicken from the 3 point line!”

      Someone needs to tell goldmember21 that this is not ESPN, where you can copy and paste posts a few minutes after each other and expect any level of respect.

    • gostlcards5 - May 25, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      I’m here. Good first 1 1/2 quarters by Indy. Good adjustment by Miami. Tough play in third quarter, but game was still close. Miami goes off in the 4th, and Indy had nothing in response. Failing to adjust on guarding Ray Allen was a horrible non-move by Coach Vogel.

  17. ranfan12 - May 25, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    Wade averaging 24 on 62%? You gotta be kidding me lol

  18. goldmember21 - May 25, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    Jesus eating chicken from the 3 point line

    • jimeejohnson - May 25, 2014 at 1:36 AM

      CantonPeaBrain eating feces from his Mom’s basement.

      • leahcima1 - May 25, 2014 at 7:52 AM

        Cantonjerk0 eats it by night. His twin Richie sells it by day. The silence from Ohio is deafening.

  19. naterich21 - May 25, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    Haslem and Andersen have outplayed Bosh 3 games straight and Pacers still can’t hold a lead

    • realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 3:51 AM

      Bosch simply checks out in these Pacer games. Spoelstra clearly tried to get him involved early, but he still wasn’t getting it done.

  20. realfootballfan - May 25, 2014 at 3:31 AM

    Pacers scored in the 80’s again. Shocking. But I’m sure you can win a championship just playing good defense, that oh by the way, the Pacers haven’t this series. This should be wrapped in 5 games, maybe 6 if the Pacers have anything left.

    • gostlcards5 - May 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      You’re delirious. Indy has played good defense the majority of the 3 games. Wade/James have gone off in spurts, and any defense can have problems stopping them the way they’re playing, esp. Wade.

      • realfootballfan - May 26, 2014 at 7:24 AM

        Okay, I guess “good defense” includes letting the opposing team shoot over 50% in every game so far when that’s supposedly your signature.

  21. money2long - May 25, 2014 at 4:02 AM

    Heat hav proven to overcome things.

  22. pphins4life12 - May 25, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    Where is the KB911 guy or whatever his name is or the canton bound clown. Or the clowns from NYC who are still upset LeBron didn’t choose that sorry franchise. I At least expected to see a bunch of excuses.. but you clowns don’t even show up??? Wow. Heat loses this pay has over 100 comments easily!!

    • money2long - May 25, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Does that surprise u ?
      If mayweather loses a fight , would that draw more attention than if he won ?

      Do u know news about drama travels faster ?

  23. newyorkball82 - May 25, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    “They were supposed to win the first one at home”. Isn’t that what heat fans say? Still got 2 more games to win to actually take this series but that concept can be difficult to understand I know.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - May 25, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Glad to hear from you. As long as you’re hating on us fans, that means the team is doing well. We’re fine with that tradeoff, and we even get to enjoy a sideshow in the process.

  24. coffeeblack95616 - May 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Who cares? The Heat were just an artificially created championship team with nobody but Wade as actual draft talent. To make the point, LeBron and Bosh and Wade should go sign in Milwaukee and win multiple rings there. Or LeBron could just go to the Clippers or Warriors and win titles there.
    For the opposite example, look to the Spurs.

    • jollyjoker2 - May 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      yes – it makes the whole team smell but it is what it is. I want San An also ….I think Indy needs to start putting some hard fouls on these guys. the weakest link is wades knees. Lebron, he gets away with the bull calls like shaq used to get. Put the shoulder in and push to the rim. The only way you beat that is the bill lambier eye poke.

    • miamatt - May 25, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      Wade and Chalmers were draft picks. Haslem was an UFA, and a Heat lifer. That’s 3/5 of the starting lineup. Cole, another draft pick/draft day trade has played a pretty big role.

      Really, though, who cares? Are teams only allowed to be built through the draft and by scouring europe for diamonds in the rough? The goal is to win! What exactly does “artificially created” even mean, and why should such a notion even be considered relevant?

      Look up the past 20 years of the Miami Heat- they’ve been a damn good team more often than not. The “Big 3″ choosing Miami as their franchise of choice was no accident.

      • beach305 - May 25, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        The noble way is to tank I guess.

      • realfootballfan - May 26, 2014 at 7:32 AM

        I know that’s the truth because that’s the lamest excuse people come up with for hating this Heat team. Shaq, Wilt, and Kareem were not Laker draft picks, most of the Celtics main players in the 80’s and 2/3 of their big 3 on their recent championship teams were not home grown. Anyone who hates it because the players decided to come together instead of management putting it together need to get a life.

    • gostlcards5 - May 25, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      Talking about “the way the Heat were created” is a bogus excuse for people that are upset that they keep winning. (and that is from a Pacers fan)

    • moppop - May 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      Artificially created? Are there cyborgs on the Heat that only you are aware about? I think you may need to readjust your tinfoil hat.

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