Game 1 – A Tale of Two Halves

Game 1 was a tale of two halves for the Pacers. In the first they did a lot of things well. In the second … not so much. I will go over all the things they did well and poorly in each half.

First Half

The Pacers started the game by backing up all their talk of “not being the underdogs” and seemed as if they were completely unaffected by the spotlight and the Miami Heat.  They seemed as if they were there to send a message to the whole league, and this is exactly the type of mentality they need to with stain going forward in the series.

Offensively – Usually when Indiana’s best player, Danny Granger, doesn’t play well, the team doesn’t either, but that wasn’t the case in the first half. Even though Danny didn’t score a single point in the first half, I have no problem with the way the Pacers were playing offensively. They did exactly what any team should do against the Heat: make the game physical and attack in the paint. David West and Roy Hibbert finished the half with 12 and 10 points, respectively, and Tyler Hansbrough added 8 points. These are the positions that the Pacers need to attack with. The Heat are undersized at the 4 and 5 with their tallest rotation player being Chris Bosh at 6″11.

Defensively – Whenever LeBron James or Dwayne Wade attempted to get in the lane the Pacers did a great job of double-teaming them way out of the paint and forcing them to restart the play. This is exactly what the Pacers need to do: force Miami into jump shots and post-up plays later in the shot clock. If  Bosh scores 13 points in the first half, that’s great for the Pacers — it means the Heat are playing exactly as the Pacers want to play.

At the end of the first half of the last game between the Heat and Pacers in the regular season, Paul George hit a half court buzzer beater, which gave the Pacers a ton of momentum. I feel that if Leandro Barbosa had gotten the right call at the end of the half and put the Pacers up by 9, the Pacers would’ve been able to carry the momentum and played better in the third quarter, which they normally dominate.

Second Half

Coming into the second half, the Pacers seemed to have lost that mentality I talked about earlier. The Heat came out strong with LeBron and D-Wade starting to take over in the 3rd quarter. The Heat erased the 6-point lead the Pacers had in less than four minutes, and the Pacers seemed to have lost all the confidence that they had in the first half.

Offensively – The Pacers were lucky to go into the 4th all tied up, because in the 3rd they started settling for way too many jump shots and were shying away from post ups. This is especially strange considering the abdominal injury right before half time that sidelined Bosh for the rest of the game. In the 3rd quarter the Pacers had a combined 5 points from the PF/C positions and none of those came from post ups. In the 4th, things got even uglier. By the time Roy Hibbert scored, the Heat had already started to dictate the flow of the game, and the Pacers couldn’t change it. The Pacers started turning the ball over, which led to way too many fast breaks for the Heat.

Defensively – For some reason the Pacers started to let LeBron and D-Wade have wide-open looks that they weren’t getting in the 1st half. They stopped coming out with double teams that forced them to restart the play and let them into the paint without much resistance. After George Hill hit a 3 to make it a 1-point game, the Pacers started fouling LeBron and D-Wade nearly every time they drove the ball into the paint. Without all those double teams, the Heat were able to stop settling for jump shots and post ups, which meant they could play the game the way they love to: by driving to the basket.

Looking Forward in the Series

Once the Heat are able to dictate their flow of the game, it’s nearly impossible to stop them. The Pacers have to apply the ideas they had in the 1st half throughout the entire series. The Pacers need to work the ball on the inside all game long to wear Miami down and force them to play in a way they don’t want to play. As long as the Pacers can keep the game slow-paced they will hold the advantage.

The second it starts becoming fast-paced, LeBron and D-Wade will be able to run away with it.

Tags: 2012 Playoffs Game Recap Pacers Vs. Heat

  • Ian

    As I pointed out in my comment on the other thread, by the time the 4th quarter happened most of the Pacers starting 5 had 4 fouls or more, meaning that if they did attempt to challenge shots and play defense they would have likely all fouled out, thus all the open looks for the heat.

    The Heat’s fouls were concentrated amongst their reserves and thus didn’t really affect their play style at all.

  • Uncle Leroy


  • Chris B.

    Wasn’t part of the problem in the 3rd quarter the fact that Hibbert got into foul trouble and had to go to the bench? I don’t remember the exact sequence, but it seemed like he picked up three quick fouls before the mid-way point of the quarter, giving him four for the game and forcing him to sit.

  • Matt S

    That could be it, but Hibbert sat for a good portion of the first half as well, and the bench played wonderfully during their extended minutes.

  • flampoo

    There were more than a couple foul calls that had me up in arms. It’s frustrating to think that those miscalls made the difference in the final score.

    Granger and PG need more ice in their veins.

  • Nate

    All valid points, but it comes down to guarding Lebron. Lebron looked passive all game, then flipped a switch in the 4th and scored 16. It scares me, how do you shut down him when he decides he isn’t going to shoot 20 foot jumpers. Heat shot poorly and still won. Pacers need to go through Hibbert more instead of trying to run though Granger who is guarded by Lebron – which is a bad match up for Pacers in late game situations. Lebron is the best perimeter defender in the league. Heat have no post defense prescence.

  • poot

    LeBron and D-Wade will be able to run away with it…
    very punny…

  • dwain

    they ran jump stepped and walked all game