Post-Game Grades: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Too Much for Pacers

The Pacers should definitely feel like they left a golden opportunity on the table today. They led for most of the first three quarters, were tied heading into the fourth, and trailed 86-85 with 4:50 left in the game. But, from that point, they only scored one point, falling to the heavily favored Miami Heat, 95-86.

It’s always a blown opportunity when you have a chance to win a road game in the playoffs, but don’t. Prospects looked even rosier, when it was announced that Chris Bosh would miss the second half with an abdominal pull. But, that never became a factor.

For that to have mattered, the Pacers would have needed to force Miami consistently to their third option. They did not. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 42 second half points – four more than the Pacers had as a team during that 24 minutes.

Bosh’s injury could prove meaningful, if it lingers, but only if the Pacers defense can figure out a way to at least contain the best player in the league or Dwyane Wade. Today, they couldn’t do either.

The Pacers were whistled for nine more fouls, and shot 10 fewer free throws than the Heat. And while that certainly was advantageous to Miami, and very frustrating at times, I’ll stop well short of saying it changed the game. Even acknowledging that the 50/50 calls skewed heavily towards the home team, there were plenty of other areas the where the Pacers left points and chances on the table.

Indiana’s bigs – David West and Roy Hibbert – played well, combining for 34 points and 23 rebounds. Darren Collison did, as well, and the bench as a whole played at or above the level you need. However, George Hill was spotty, and Danny Granger and Paul George were outright bad.

Taken as a whole, there’s as much to build on from this game as there is to regret. The Pacers were far from perfect, yet still took this game deep into the fourth quarter before succumbing. The blue print is what is what before the game. Indiana must cut down on the turnovers (15), do a better job on the glass at both ends (allowed Miami to get 60% of the rebounds after the half), and they need to get something – anything – from their wings.

It’s always tough to judge from one game, but this didn’t feel like a high water mark for the Pacers. There was no fluky shooting from long range or any stretch of amazing play by Indiana. Mostly, the teams went toe-to-toe, until Miami won.

Vogel and his squad did a good job of learning and adjusting in the first round. Miami is a different beast, but it’s still reasonable to expect the Pacers to get better going forward, and not worse.

At one point today, Vogel supposedly said, “Do what the Mavericks did, only better.” Now, what the Pacers need to do is what they did today…only better.

Here is how each guy played individually tonight. Agree? Disagree? Express your thoughts below in the comments or yell at me (@8pts9secs) or Tim (@TimDonahue8p9s) on Twitter.

David West, PF 37 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS
Great, efficient numbers’ game, but couldn’t generate anything late against Miami’s defensive pressure.
Danny Granger, SF 39 MIN | 1-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS
Just nowhere near enough, if the Pacers hope to win a game, let alone the series.
Roy Hibbert, C 28 MIN | 6-12 FG | 5-6 FT | 11 REB | 17 PTS
Need this kind of performance from him every game the rest of this series, if the Pacers are to have a chance.
George Hill, SG 25 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS
Gave some scoring, but his foul trouble was crippling. His fifth foul was a mindless mistake, and it forced Vogel to go with Darren Collison for too long, which limited DC’s effectiveness just as Miami moved ahead in the fourth.
Paul George, SG 26 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 6 PTS
Very, very disappointing performance from PG. Seemed like the game was moving too fast for him. He better catch up fast.

Leandro Barbosa, SG 23 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-4 FT | 9 PTS
Attacked offensively, but hurt defensively and, oh, those missed free throws.
Louis Amundson, C 13 MIN | 0-2 FG | 4 REB | 1 BLK | 0 PTS
Did what he does.
Tyler Hansbrough, PF 16 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-2 FT | 1 REB | 8 PTS
Great first-half stretch, keyed by hitting some jumpers. Second half stint, well, not so good.
Darren Collison, PG 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 AST | 10 PTS
Continued his strong play this playoffs, but definitely benefits from having his minutes and stints limited. When he goes flat out, he’s very good, but you could see he was gassed early in the fourth, and it hurt.
Dahntay Jones, SG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1 REB | 2 PTS
Some good minutes to cover foul trouble.

Topics: 2012 Playoffs, Game Recap, Pacers Vs. Heat

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  • NoLookPass

    Its amazing how blind or selfish our players are when a teammate is wide open under the hoop, we take the hard shot 90% of the time rather than dumping off for a dunk, layup or foul. For as much we hear Frank talking passing in the huddles we miss tons of opportunities for great looks and finished last in the NBA in assists.

    Frank completely and utterly dropped the ball with the Tyler/Battier match-up and it likely cost us the game. We never went after Shane who can’t guard Hansbrough and by having Tyler on him defensively it pushed Tyler well away from the paint and the Heat was eating West’s lunch on the offensive glass.

    So not only did we fail to take advantage of a mismatch where we could have drew fouls to keep up with the Heats pace and help expose their depth but we also screwed up our rebounding by have Tyler way out on the perimeter. Frank done this a ton this year and was a big reason behind Tyler’s dip in rebounding but we could get away with it against bad teams, Miami isn’t a bad team!

    Erik Spoelstra is probably still LOLing at Frank for opening up the middle just to check a 4.8 PPG guy and hold him down to zero.

    People are too quick blaming the players when in reality most of our flaws are due to Frank being a mediocre coach who creates mismatches and never exploits them and rarely puts his players in positions to succeed. I can’t wait to see Brian Shaw leave to see who’s really behind it him or Frank because it didn’t seem so bad last year.

    Maybe next time back Frank will keep his damn mouth shut and not call out the refs. Maybe then we don’t get popped for 38 FT attempts allowed. We foul a ton, they have superstars just deal with it don’t get on the officials bad side and make the disadvantage greater. I’m hard on Frank here but we have the best team we’re going to have before finances kill out depth, and while I think he will be a very good coach he isn’t there yet and he hurts us a ton.

    Our 3 bigs did fine with West and Roy 6-of-12 and Tyler 4-of-5 along with DC shooting well at 4-of-8 but everyone else was 11-for-40 27.5%, actually looking at Tyler getting 5 shots with Battier on him and just 1 in the second half makes me even more frustrated on my first point.

    With Bosh likely done for the series or at least severely limited maybe Frank get get it ironed out and the refs ease off his back and we can make a run at this despite dropping the ball big time in a game we should have won.

  • dwain

    10 questions to find an answer to before game 2

    1) Why do we have an anchor now instead of a captain?

    2) Why didn’t we see more Psycho T when he had a hot hand?

    3) Why couldn’t this young squad seize this golden opportunity and snatch victory…from the jaws of victory?

    4) Why did the Heat play so poorly?

    5) What planet has Paul George retreated to…and why?

    6) Where is our next gear?

    7) Is it obvious that this is the “big stage” and all of America is now watching?

    8) How much pain must Larry endure before he is free to cast off?

    9) Why didn’t we win this game?

    10) Why will i be standing in the stadium, clapping at the end of game 4 (even if we get swept) and trying to get a chat of PACERS PACERS PACERS going?

  • David

    Except for his stretch in April, Danny’s been inconsistent all year. 1 for 10 can’t work. Too bad that good stretch he had didn’t carry over into the playoffs.

  • dwain

    errr chat = chant

  • NoLookPass

    Danny had a good game 3 vs Orlando where he shot 9-of-16 and 5-of-9 form downtown, but including that game he is shooting just 38.3% and 33.3% from distance meaning in the other 5 games he’s shooting 35.2% from the field and just 29.4% from three. While Paul George had a 7-for-10 game and is just 12-for-38 for 31.6% in his other 5 games.

    PG and DG over their 8 games dating back to the RS are shooting 36% each even with the good games..
    50-for-139 for Danny
    27-for-75 for Paul

  • Zach Winningham

    I’m convinced game 2 will be a blowout. This was our only chance to steal one. Now all the pressure will be on Indiana to must-win games 3 & 4, which means we won’t.

  • Sam

    I wish Bosh a speedy recovery. I don’t care what the circumstances are, injuries are bad for the game.

    That being said, I think the Pacers can really take advantage of his absence.

    Frank Vogel game planning for the Heat without Bosh means trouble for Miami. How can it not?
    He is their only inside threat (besides Lebron when he wants to be) and without him Indy can fully focus on slowing down the big 2

  • NoLookPass

    Another telling example of how poorly Frank used Tyler on defense is he didn’t even get hit with a foul in a game we had 31 and everyone else had at least two. He done that one other time all year and it was a game we allowed just 10 FT on 8 total fouls against Philly and half of those were in the first quarter.

    The Heat will be more than glad to decoy Shane for 3 more games if it means sacrificing his limited shots to totally opens up the paint to crash the offensive glass against West and our guards. LeBron and Anthony will win that batter any night of the week so lets hope Frank see’s what they are doing to us and get Tyler back closer to the basket to fight for Rebounds.

  • NoLookPass

    Yikes you never like to see quotes like this even if its true….

    “People criticize me for not being aggressive, it’s hard to be aggressive when I’m not touching the ball,” George said.

    Some other gems in Wells story here..
    http://www.indystar.com/article/20120513/SPORTS04/205130388/Miami-s-stars-shine-Granger-doesn-t-Game-1-loss

  • Chris D.

    No getting around it. This one’s on PG and DG. PG can complain all he wants but no one made him miss 4 of 5. He had a few good looks. We had three Heat on the floor we could beat the entire second half. PG and PT did not rise to the occasion. Also, it looks like Roy’s agent told him to start playing hard now since he’s finally on TV. I wonder where that’s been all season. My only fault for Vogel is having the refs show him up for calling them out. Roy gets fouled out a LBJ get one foul. Vogel really taught those refs a lesson!

  • Lou

    I have a feeling this series will go exactly as last year’s first round series with Chicago: Game 2 similar to game 1, maybe not as close. In 3&4 the Heat play just well enough to steal one and the Pacers blow them out in the other, maybe letting Miami back into the game at the end again. Game five – Miami shuts the door in convincing fashion. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong!!

  • Zach Winningham

    100% agree w Lou.

  • Ian

    The issue with the fouls was not the number, the Pacers got a few more calls in the 4th which makes it look closer than it was (in the middle of the 3rd I remember looking and seeing the Pacers had twice as many fouls as the Heat).

    The issue is how the fouls were distributed. No one on the Pacers starting 5 finished with fewer than 4 fouls, while the Heat starting 5 combined for 10. LeBron or Wade didn’t get called for a foul at all until the 4th quarter I believe.

    If you want to know why the Pacers were giving them open looks its because if they came anywhere near them they’d foul out.

  • Evan

    I was really pissed off at the lopsided refereeing in favor of the Heat but I don’t think Vogel had anything to do with it. The NBA has so much to lose and so little to gain if the Pacers win this series. There’s going to be a bias even if it’s an unconscious one. The Pacers need to play one step ahead and cannot give the refs the ability to determine the outcome of the game or dictate the momentum. It’s too easy to get upset at the refs and stop playing hard.

    We did so many thing right but the 4th quarter was deja vu all over again from last year’s first round against the Bulls. The Pacers have no finisher. I thought D West and George Hill brought that confidence I didn’t see it tonight…

    Just a couple afterthoughts… Paul George needs to STFU and start driving to the basket and FINISHING like a man. Danny Granger is screwed b/c he can’t dribble penetrate with LeBron guarding him and he’s too scared he’s going to get blocked to shoot confidently. I don’t think Granger is going to have a very big impact on this series.

  • Jesse

    Wasn’t able to watch the game, but I’m concerned about what sounds like excuses from DG and PG. I fear that while Vogel is a good positive motivator, he doesn’t have it in him to light a fire under a guy who needs to play harder and with some anger. PG should not be making excuses. I couldn’t see David West doing that.

  • Joe

    I seem to be the only one confident about this series. I should be, although I like Bosh, and I feel bad for his injury, AND I hope he goes to another team where I can root for him; anyway, his absence will kill the Heat in this series. After the Pacers lost game 1 against the Magic, they played awful, but they should have won but they didn’t. This series seems like it may take the same path (lol, but they won’t win 4 in a row).

    In game 1 against Orlando, they didn’t fight for the rebounds much and let Glen Davis have his way down low. Plus, they choked the game away by missing tons of FT’s at the end. In game 1 vs the Heat, they were outrebounded and were killed on the offensive glass. Hill was awful, DG and PG looked worse than terrible, LeBron and Wade we’re crazy good, and they barely lost!

    For game 2, I expect the first half to be slow for the Pacers, maybe to be down around 3 to 6 points at halftime, while being slightly outrebounded, but will then come out with tons of energy and be relentless down low, just like what happened against the Magic… I can’t wait for this next game!!

  • Joe

    I forgot to mention that Lebron played 43 minutes and Wade 40 minutes. I just heard that with Bosh out, they are going to get even more minutes, they should get exhausted, considering how they whined about how tired they were during the regular season.

  • poot

    I’m with you Joe
    I remember after Game 1 against Orlando everyone was talking about ‘oh that Indiana team is just too inexperienced, they can’t even beat a weakened Magic team.’

    i think this series was really close to begin with, but now that Bosh is out, it is definitely Indiana’s to take. Bosh posed a lot of problems for Indiana. He can beat Hibbert and West easily with his athleticism. He can play center for the Heat. He can play 40+ minutes against the other team’s post players. He provides a capable second option when Lebron or Wade sit, and can even be a first option if both were to sit at the same time.

    Joel Anthony had basically the best game of his career in Game 1 and Turiaf’s odor caught the Pacers off guard. They will be more prepared for his stench and actually put a body on him this game. Then what happens? If it’s Lebron and Wade jacking up jumpers all game long, I’ll take it. Just stay disciplined on offense to cool their transition game. Should dominate in the half court battle…

  • KARMA man

    HAHAHAHA Turiaf stinks it’s true, i heard Amare say that!

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