Miami Heat 115 Indiana Pacers 83
(Heat Lead Series 3-1)
This one hurt more than just the box score. David West left the game with a knee injury, but said he’ll be fine to play on Thursday. Danny Granger left the game with an ankle injury, but said you’d have to have no foot to play on Thursday. Lance Stephenson got hit when going for a rebound and had to get x-rays. Perhaps the biggest injury for the Pacers was the blow to the confidence they had.
This felt like the first two games of the regular season where Miami was able to get out and run against the Pacers. They won those games by over 20 points, and it looked like last night would be another one of those nights.
The Pacers were down by 9 points at halftime, but the way they finished was very telling. The Heat ended the half on a 9-2 that was completed by a layup right before the buzzer sounded. If you can tell how a game is going by body language, all you had to do was look at the end of this first half.
Then the Heat get a couple of more baskets right at the beginning of the third quarter, and this game is getting away. They outscored the Pacers 27-17 in the third quarter, and finish the game with a 39-26 fourth quarter edge. Not the way you want to be playing when you could have a chance to come home and close out the series.
The biggest problem in this game was scoring. The Pacers would get open looks from time to time, but couldn’t get the basket. Even times when they didn’t have open looks, but were right there at the basket, they couldn’t score. They can’t seem to get advantage in the post, where Roy Hibbert could do some damage.
Paul George was the leading scorer for the Pacers with 11 points. On the other side, you had Lebron James with 30 points and Dwayne Wade with 28 points. Those two guys by themselves outscored the Pacers’ starters. Yet another sign this series is shifting.
Game six is Thursday night at Indiana, where the Pacers hope to find some semblance of who they are. I thought going to Miami and getting away from the home crowd might help the Pacers last night, but it surely didn’t. So I’ll go back the other way today, and say hopefully the home crowd can energize this team and give them that confidence they had going in the previous games. If the Pacers don’t show up for that one, it will be just as ugly as this one.