EC Semi-Final, GAME 2: Indiana Pacers 78 – Miami Heat 75 (1-1)

Miami Heat Confidence Meter:  8.9 (Trepidationmeter

•  The Miami Heat could have emptied out their roster onto the waiver wire, save Lebron James / Dwyane Wade, and replaced them with any group of 7 NBA players, and they could not do much worse than the Heat’s reserves did on this night.  In this recap, we will account for each player and how they performed in this most unacceptable loss.  First of all, let’s get the “good” out of the way.  Lebron James and Dwyane Wade carried the team, so they don’t deserve much blame, although we will get to them later.  Shane Battier played very well in a reserve roll, and complimented each lineup he played with.  One drawback to his game on this night, was that he sought to focus on the rebounding aspect of his cover, and did not actively seek any open 3 pt. shots, when spacing was sorely needed.  That general lack of aggressiveness, permeated the entire team.  Overall, there were only two reserves that caught the eye.  Battier playing his “wallpaper” game, and Norris Cole.  Norris Cole changed the game early on.  Mario Chalmers found himself in early foul trouble, and the insertion of Norris Cole, flipped the fortunes of both teams.  Cole is a stellar on the ball defender, and his work on George Hill and Especially Darren Collison is to be lauded.  Norris Cole might have earned himself some minutes going forward.

•  As for the “ugly” in this game, you can start with 1-16 from the three point line.  That is 16 attempts, of which 6 were in the flow of the offense and in rhythm.  The Heat shot 1-6 on those 6 attempts.  The Last of those three point attempts came with 6 seconds to go, to tie the game from Mario Chalmers.  RIO in my opinion, sought to get fouled by kicking out his legs, instead of focusing on the shot.  As far as Mario Chalmers goes, his game was a total mess last night.  He had issues handling it, he reached all game and got himself in foul trouble.  His shots came either hurried or in catch and shoots, so that falls on his teammates.  What doesn’t fall on his teammates is that lack of aggression on his part, which was a theme of the Miami Heat on this night.  Speaking of a lack of aggression, Mike Miller has run his course as a viable option off the bench if he is gonna refuse to shoot.  Upon further review, Miller passed up 3 shots in the first half, which he could have had in rhythm.  When the ball gets moved, Miller runs off a screen to receive it, and the screener rolls toward the rim to hit the offensive glass, Miller must setup to shoot because if he puts the ball on the floor, he cycles the entire offense again, and this time, he is cycling it with less time on the shot clock.  Passing up open shots is an offense killer.  Mike Miller on this night was an albatross, and a move to splitting duties between James Jones and Mike Miller is in order.  At least we know James Jones will shoot within the offense.  As for Udonis Haslem, getting only 12 minutes and 1 personal foul?  Confusing.

•  Now for the superstars.  You can’t complain about “false narratives”, such as “Lebron is afraid to drive to the rim in the clutch, because of a fear of shooting free throws” When it looked exactly like that on several instances.  There is not a player on the Pacers roster that can keep Lebron James in front of them.  Down the stretch, several triggers were pulled that allowed for Lebron to attack the rim, where he was surely gonna be fouled.  That’s the game.  Get to the line, win it at the line.  That’s NBA playoff basketball.  Passiveness is not a good look for Lebron and a terrible way to dispel narratives.  His last FG attempt came with 3:35 left in the game.  Dwyane Wade missed a game tying layup.  Just missed it.  Can’t blame legs, when it’s a layup in which he didn’t need to elevate over anybody.  I am also tired of excuses that start with fatigue as a theme.  You get plenty of breaks during action to be able to play near 40 minutes in an NBA playoff game.  Dwyane Wade’s decision making was good, but his penchant for breaking off plays is getting tiresome.  Hero ball could , in the end be this team’s undoing.

•   Do you miss Chris Bosh yet?

The Heat are in Indiana for Game 3 on Thursday night.  Tipoff is at 7:00 pm.

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