Post-Game Grades: Allow the Pacers to Reintroduce Themself

The Good: This was a buttkicking start to finish. Literally a wire-to-wire win in which Miami never lead or even threatened. Indiana absorbed every mini-run to such a degree that the seemingly inevitable real one never even game. This was as balanced and professional of an offensive performance as I’ve seen this team play all season against a high-quality opponent. It’s a long series and it’s just one win, but the way in which they won sent a message to the world — and probably most important, to themselves — that the Pacers are ready play good basketball again.

The Bad: The defense was pretty flimsy, particularly early on. And they Heat got way too many buckets in the paint.

MVP: Can’t even do it. Five guys can cut up the game ball like King Solomon said.

LVP: Chris Bosh. He was a no show, impotently missing open jumpers and doing nothing else of substance.

X-Factor: C.J. Watson. They almost didn’t need it in a game when the starters played so well, but his points off the bench were what helped ensure this one never got close.

Miami Heat 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
107 Indiana Pacers
David West, PF 34 MIN | 8-11 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | +13

Had his way with whoever Miami threw at him. Just a wonderfully efficient shooting game and made the right decision almost every time with the ball. Miami needs to find an answer to him rolling in the high screen roll. After he got the ball in space, he would find the open man — which was especially nifty when it was Roy on the low block.

Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 7-13 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 24 PTS | +11

He has had better games and there were two or three head-scratching passes (per always), but for him to come out and have such an impact on the offensive side of the court — on this stage and given Indiana’s recent struggles — might make this his most impressive show of professionalism and will to date.

Roy Hibbert, C 39 MIN | 5-13 FG | 9-13 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +19

Whatever on missing a few shots. Hibbert was a presence in the paint on both sides of the ball and he got Miami into heavy foul trouble. On defense, LeBron and Chalmers are no longer as scared to go at the rim — and the Heat did get too many points at the cup — but they still know he’s there. And Bosh was nowhere to be seen in Mr. Hibbert’s neighborhood all afternoon.

George Hill, PG 36 MIN | 3-9 FG | 6-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +11

Set the tone for the game with his early 3s and aggressive penetration. Did a great job on Ray Allen through screens and was just generally magnificent defending all game.

Lance Stephenson, SG 41 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +12

If it takes going into the luxury tax to re-sign this dude, someone either needs to get (a) Herb Simon to sign off on it or (b) forge his signature. He did everything correct in the second quarter and was even bailing out the offense on some of the few possessions the offense struggled. When he’s making this many plays, for himself and his teammates, he can affect the game more than almost any other guy in the league.

Luis Scola, PF 14 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2

Didn’t get exploited by the Heat’s small ball and generally fit in night. He only had one bucket, but it was a beautiful, powerful dunk with some sweet rim hang action.

Ian Mahinmi, C 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8

Probably his worst game in a long time. Got exploited twice within about a 2-minute span for lob dunks to Birdman.

C.J. Watson, PG 18 MIN | 3-4 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -2

He’s a beast. Had some sloppy and thoughtless defensive possessions, but more than made up for it with his scoring. He didn’t appear to have any lasting effects from being heaved into press row, but it was scary watching him fall like that after Mario Chalmers shoved him as he went up for a layup (which was ruled a flagrant foul).

Frank Vogel
Made a savvy “Turn into the 2004 Suns” adjustment after the Wizards series.

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