It’s only Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Miami Heat are pumped up and ready to go. Or were they? The Indiana Pacers came roaring to life and dominated the game from Paul George scoring to George Hill to Roy Hibbert. There was no stopping Indy. They played balanced basketball sharing the ball between all five players on the court and playing defense as one. What’s to expect in Game 2? Pretty much the same. See Indiana doing the same thing in Game 1. Share the ball, cut down on turnovers. What about Miami? Go to your star player, Lebron James and let him work. Let Lebron James dominate Lance Stephenson and David West on the post and perimeter.
What a day! The Indiana Pacers get Luis Scola and they haven’t changed the outlook of their frontline with Roy Hibbert, David West, Tyler Hansbrough, and Ian Mahinmi. Gary Neal decides to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. This is a very good day for the NBA, because teams haven’t lost significant value of how good their NBA team really is without giving up too many valuable basketball players to sign with other teams.
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.
Boy, did the Indiana Pacers show up to play basketball. They made sure that the Miami Heat took tough shots and made tough shots. This one has to be on Miami because they wanted to clinch a ticket to the NBA Finals. The Heat failed at all costs. With Roy Hibbert and David West standing up to the star-stellar Miami Heat, there’s no stopping what the Indiana Pacers can do physically. Repeatedly, the Pacers punished the Heat by moving the ball inside the paint where Hibbert and West can get their post points. The Pacers contained the Heat’s outside shooters and made Shane Battier and Ray Allen use their energy on defense so they wouldn’t be able to hoist up three-pointers. This Game 6 will be on Miami, if the Heat do not win Game 7 in a winner-takes-all. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade did not bring their best games.
What to expect in Game 6 tonight:
1. See that the Indiana Pacers take care of the basketball.
2. Lebron James has another breakout game.
3. Dwyane Wade contributes in some way to help Miami win.
4. Roy Hibbert has a big game against Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony.
5. See that Dwyane Wade and Lebron James run their patent fast break.
6. See that the Indiana Pacers run their offense with balanced scoring.
7. Watch and see if the physical Roy Hibbert and David West do try and take Lebron James out with their bigger frames.
8. Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen need to step up and hit their outside shots in order Miami wins Game 6.
9. Lebron James and Dwyane Wade playing outstanding perimeter defense so the Heat can generate fast break points.
10. D.J. Augustin and George Hill must have good games for Indiana to force a Game 7.
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?
Indiana rode the strength of Roy Hibbert and David West and Paul George last night in Game 2. Whenever Lebron James and Dwyane Wade got into the paint, they were met by Roy Hibbert’s whose interior presence affected the Miami Heat’s game. Hibbert had a big scoring game and his height really took a toll and beating on Miami’s smaller defenders like Udonis Haslem. In the end of this exciting basketball game, Miami made two errors on Lebron James passing the ball in crunch time. They failed to recognize that Indiana surrounded him with help defenders so that James would be unable to complete his layup twice. Indiana’s defense sealed their win in Game 2. Indiana prevented Miami’s sharpshooters from taking three pointers and further allowed Wade or James to penetrate into the lane and get off their shots in the lane where the 7-2 Roy Hibbert waits. This was a defining win for Indiana, because Indiana coach Frank Vogel wants Lebron James to eat his words for knowing that the Pacers have a choke hold on this series and Indiana really wants to show the Heat that they are an elite team. Of course Miami has no one’s respect, because they’re the defending champs. Indiana doesn’t care about earning Miami’s respect,, they want to get there in a hurry by beating the Heat in four games and showing their basketball dominance in the NBA Finals. Indiana stole home court and now they can do more damage in Games 3 and 4 in Indiana. Here’s where they can harm Lebron James: beat him with more than one help defender and then rush back to their outside shooters when James kicks out the basketball to shooters like Mike Miller and Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers. The Indiana Pacers did that really well in Game 2 and it showed.
The Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 93-91 in their Game 1 series. Kevin Durant had 35 points, including the game-winning shot. This was an exciting game because both teams hung around. Indiana controlled the tempo at Madison Square Garden, as they won the first game of their second-round playoff series 102-95 against the New York Knicks. Roy Hibbert was the star of the game as he had five blocked shots and set the tempo for the Pacers’ defense.
I’m watching a Bulls-Pacers game where the Bulls are down 89-94 to the Indiana Pacers with less than 40 seconds left to go. The Pacers should be giving a Bulls a whipping, because they are more talented than Chicago is, considering Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose is out with a torn ACL. These Bulls aren’t the same as last year, when they had John Lucas III, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, and Omer Asik. They’re not completely different either as similar backups are taking their place and yet, some odd faces like Nazr Mohammed and Marquis Teague taking the floor. The Pacers, on the other hand, have a talented team with George Hill, Paul George, Danny Granger, and Roy Hibbert. It’s no wonder that Indiana is leading Chicago 95-92 with less than twenty seconds to go. It’s going to be a tight game.
Nothing much has changed about the Indiana Pacers, although they have recently acquired D.J. Augustin from the Charlotte Bobcats and Ian Mahinmi. How well will they play after last season’s finish against the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA playoffs? Will Danny Granger get any better? Will Roy Hibbert try and be a better offensive and defensive force?
If you’ve read my previous basketball posts, I am really excited by what the L.A. Clippers have done this summer. They have added Lamar Odom and Grant Hill and acquired Ryan Hollins, Jamal Crawford, and Willie Green. They really can’t and won’t do any harm for them this season, although I regret saying that if they do have had high expectations since last season, they will regress a bit this year.
I really can’t emphasize this any further, but can the L.A. Lakers get any better and bigger by trading for one of the biggest big men in NBA history in Dwight Howard. Steve Nash is also the Lakers’ biggest acquisition too. But one thing that will hold the Lakers back if they don’t win the 2013 NBA title is age.
One of the three characteristics that strike me most about the Memphis Grizzlies is hustle. They have heart and the grind. When they hustle, they really go after it. Tony Allen and Marc Gasol have to be two of the Grizzlies’ best hustle players. It’s really a shame that Memphis let O.J. Mayo go to Dallas in hopes of the Mavericks getting better last season after winning the NBA title two seasons ago.
I really liked how Miami went after Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis this summer. The starting five will give opposing teams field days with a lineup of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen in the backcourt, Lebron James and Rashard Lewis in the front court and Chris Bosh at center. This star-studded cast of superstars will go after the NBA title again for another year. What will hold the Heat back? Repeating is harder than winning an NBA title for the first time.
The Bucks have an ultra fast back court in Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They eliminated the slow and fleet footed Andrew Bogut at center and sent him to the Golden State Warriors. What about their defense? It’s nonexistent now.