The Indiana Pacers travel to Washington D.C. to play the Wizards. It was a low-scoring game, as Indiana brought their defensive plays that Frank Vogel designed for them. The Washington Wizards score 63 points and the Pacers a whooping 85 points. In the West, another Game 3 coming up, the Oklahoma City Thunder made 118 and the L.A. Clippers 112 and there were words between Chris Paul and Kevin Durant as they bumped into each other. Anyway, the Thunder win Game 3 and they lead the series 2 games to 1.
This just in – the Atlanta Hawks played better basketball than the Indiana Pacers did. Do I sense Frank Vogel’s resignation at the end of Indiana’s season? There’s no reason why the Pacers can’t turn it up – they must be able to turn on the switch so that they can see their team executing team ball against a determined and confident Hawks team run by Mike Budenholzer, whose squad is reminiscent of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich who have guys who can shoot and a big man who can rebound and defend and put the ball in the hoop like Tim Duncan. The Hawks have a Tim Duncan-caliber like player in Paul Millsap. The Hawks lead the series 2 games to 1 and if I were the Pacers, I would want to play desperate because I don’t want my NBA season to end.
Miami finally did it. They finally took care of business in a winner-takes-all Game 7 in Miami and Lebron James had 32 points and Dwyane Wade had 21 points in a 99-76 rout. Miami could’ve taken care of business with Indiana, but they were lackadaisical in their approach in handling basketball matters with the Pacers. Here’s why: one, you didn’t bring your patent fast break with Wade and James immediately from the tip-off and instead of playing to your strengths like relying on athleticism and speed, they played directly into the Indiana Pacers’ tempo and game of pace where the Pacers were bringing their size and muscle and physicality into the Heat and into the paint. The Miami Heat didn’t impose their speed game and their two-man fast break of Lebron James and Dwyane Wade. I really think the Heat are fortunate, not lucky, to win against Indiana, because the Pacers were really making Miami take and make tough shots. Every shot Miami was taking was because Indiana was making them take the shot.
It was nearly impossible for Miami to bring size and physicality into the Pacers, because Roy Hibbert is much taller than Miami’s frontline and the Heat had to bring Chris Andersen, the Birdman, off the bench to show Indiana how much fortitude they had against a bigger Pacers team. I felt like the Indiana Pacers, Frank Vogel’s squad, had the upper hand throughout the series, because they didn’t rely on size, but imposed it on the Miami Heat and several times throughout the series, the Pacers really did seem like they had the series lead. It felt like the Pacers were up 3 games to 1 or something. It was a close battle to the end.
Congrats to the Miami Heat team for winning a 7-game series in a Game 7, where Indiana had Miami on the ropes throughout the entire seven games they had played. Indiana really took it to the Heat.
The Indiana Pacers gave the Miami Heat a beating last night. I didn’t watch the whole game fortunately, because I didn’t want to expect to see Lebron James give out an awesome performance. It turns out that the Indiana Pacers kept charging at Lebron James and made him pick up six fouls and James fouled out of the game. The Pacers win this game 99-92 because they did not get rattled when Miami made their scoring runs. The Pacers expected the Miami Heat to get their points in spurts and it showed. Indiana made sure they would stand the scoring runs made by Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat and absorbed the hit. Then Pacers coach Frank Vogel had his Pacers squad slowly build up their lead again until all 48 minutes were run out. It is a smart strategic play on Frank Vogel’s part because Erik Spoelstra doesn’t know what to expect from playing with a balanced and scoring Indiana Pacers team. Sometimes I wonder if Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows its five-on-five basketball. With a star studded cast with Dwyane Wade and Lebron James and Chris Bosh scoring all the major goodies, you have to wonder, how are the other supporting role players contributing to the Miami offense and on defense. How is Miami defending the titan 7-2 giant Roy Hibbert and Lebron James expanding energy to chase down Paul George and Dwyane Wade running on defense against Lance Stephenson? Miami started the game slowly and they let up. They let the Pacers have the first go at scoring. The Heat didn’t score first. Starting game 5, the Miami Heat must get their scoring up in order to win the game. They must start the game with defense, because when Lebron James gets up and down the court with those chase-down blocks and Wade does the same with steals, the Heat are unstoppable. Ray Allen gets open looks at the basket, Shane Battier will be able to make perimter shots, and so does Mario Chalmers. We haven’t seen a Miami onslaught since Game 3 when the Heat won the game 114-96.
I have to say, the series is far closer than it is 2-2. I think the Pacers have a slight upper hand at this series, than the Miami Heat do, because the Pacers have a bench mob that is able to defend Ray Allen consistently and making sure that the Heat shooters like Mike Miller, James Jones, and Rashard Lewis do not get open looks consistently all night. Except for Games 1, 2, and 4, the Heat broke out with a flurry of three pointers in a convincing win in Game 3. Paul George uncharacteristically showed he was angry after a foul he made in the third quarter. The Pacers want this game. Indiana wants Miami to know that they are for real. Now, the Pacers have the Heat’s number. Can Miami answer the call in Game 5?