May 27, 2014, 9:55 AM EST
The Heat beat the Pacers in Game 4 last night for many reasons, but let’s start with one. Here are both teams’ marks from the free-throw line:
- Pacers: 11-of-17
- Heat: 30-of-34
An even free-throw disparity has absolutely nothing to do with whether a game is officiated well. Sometimes – quite often, probably – one team deserves more free throws than the other.
That was the case last night.
Just don’t tell that to Paul George, who made his case for a fine during his post-game press conference.
George, via ASAP Sports:
Looking at the stat sheet, we outplayed them. You got to give them credit. They won this game at the free‑throw line. They really just were able to get to the line more than we were, but I thought we outplayed them tonight.
This one‑‑ I thought we did a great job. I just thought we did a great job. We rallied at the end to try to make a push.
But, again, they made 30 free throws, and that put them over the edge.
I mean, you can’t tell me we don’t attack the basket as much as they attack the basket. You can’t tell me we’re not aggressive. Maybe we’re too aggressive. But I feel like we’re just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were asked about George’s comments. As Wade gave a diplomatic answer about aggressiveness and having no control over the officials, LeBron studied the box score. When Wade finished, LeBron responded:
We did only have five turnovers, seven steals, and 20 points off their turnovers. That has nothing to do with the free-throw line.
There’s no simpler way to put this: LeBron is right, and George is wrong.
The Pacers shot better from the field and 3-point range than Miami. They also out-rebounded and out-assisted Miami. If you didn’t watch the game, maybe you could convince yourself Indiana was the better team and just didn’t catch a break.
But the Heat dominated the game, and the final score — along with some stats that go with it — are misleading. Nearly halfway through the fourth quarter, Miami led by 23. At that point – with LeBron out for part of it and Chris Bosh out for all of it – Indiana went on a 13-1 run.
The Heat deserved their free throws – at least enough of them to get this win comfortably. And turnovers count. Miami forced seven live-ball turnovers to the Pacers’ one.
George, who led Indiana with five turnovers, can’t just attribute the problem to bad luck. The Pacers, George included, are a bad ball-handling and bad passing team.
Maybe that’s because they don’t believe protecting the ball is as much a part of basketball as making shots and grabbing rebounds. I guess that’s their prerogative, or at least George’s.
They can keep that belief, keep “outplaying” their opponent and keep losing.
Mar 6, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
Sixers remain uninterested in getting their most talented players on the floor.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
Lakers are desperately trying to get back to the level of title contenders.
Mar 6, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
Gasol will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but is more than likely to remain with the Grizzlies.
Mar 6, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Indeed it is.
Mar 6, 2015, 5:39 PM EST
He was even hitting his free throws.
Mar 6, 2015, 4:50 PM EST
It’s starting to feel like the playoffs are coming, play is getting chippy.
Mar 6, 2015, 4:02 PM EST
It was worth a shot.
Mar 6, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
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Mar 6, 2015, 2:37 PM EST
Raptors need their All-Star point guard to get on track
Mar 6, 2015, 1:38 PM EST
Pacers great tells fantastic tale of trash-talking gone awry
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Mar 6, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
Mar 6, 2015, 11:39 AM EST
Orlando should do better
Mar 6, 2015, 10:34 AM EST
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Mar 6, 2015, 9:43 AM EST
It was a big win, but still
Mar 6, 2015, 9:07 AM EST
Former Celtics star continues what he began Wilkins’ rookie year
Mar 6, 2015, 8:30 AM EST
He said his Achilles has been bothering him.
Mar 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
The form wasn’t pretty but the result was.
Mar 6, 2015, 3:10 AM EST
Westbrook is still a machine
Mar 6, 2015, 12:53 AM EST
This hurts the Blazers guard depth.
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