Miami Heat’s pride at stake as they visit Indianapolis for game 3 against the Indiana Pacers – NBA Preview
LeBron James and the Miami Heat travel to Indianapolis in a situation they did not expect, having split the 1st two games of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final clash against the Indiana Pacers.
Both games were played in Miami, where the Heat had won 13 playoff games in a row against Eastern Conference opponents. Indiana however gave the Miami Heat a rude awakening when they beat them to tie the series. The Pacers now take the series to Indianapolis looking to build on their momentum.
Miami had one of the worst offensive nights of their season in game 2 against the Pacers. The Heat shot 34.6% from the field and were a dismal 1 of 16 from the distance. James had 28 points and Dwyane Wade added 24 but the rest of the Heat roster combined for 23. Chris Bosh was out for the game with an abdominal injury and his absence was felt hard by the Heat, who had no other scoring option.
Even LeBron and Wade could not get the job done in this game. James missed 2 free throws that could have given Miami the lead with 54 seconds left. He then passed the ball twice on a play which resulted in Wade missing a layup with 16 seconds in the game. Wade, on the other hand, took the 4 of the final 6 shots for the Heat and was unable to connect on a single one.
"At the end of the day, I was satisfied with my performance and trying to help us win a ball game. That's all that matters” said James.
"It's going to be fun. It's what the playoffs are all about. At the end of the day, you've got to try to win on somebody else's floor. And we look forward to going up there" James added.
The Indiana Pacers were also not at their best in game 2, although they did hold on to win the game. The Pacers shot 37.8% from the field, were 20% from the line and Paul George missed two free throws with just over a minute left in the game. David West and Roy Hibbert had good nights for Indiana, but Danny Granger finished with only 11 points off 5 of 14 shooting.
However, the Pacers did get help from most of their players, with Leandro Barbosa coming off the bench to score 8 crucial points as well.
"You never want to get too low after a loss or too high after a win. We played a good game, but we need to make a lot of improvements on offense and defense" said Granger.
The one good point Indiana cane take away from game 2 over everything else is the fact that they forced Miami to play their type of basketball. Miami is usually a team that relies on fast breaks, alley oops, transitions and keeps the tempo of the game high. The Pacers, on the other hand, play hard grind type of basketball, with a lot of physical contact and tight defense to make the opponents work hard for their points. That is what they accomplished in game 2 and that is what they will be looking to play in game 3 as well.
"We've got to keep our edge. We understand that we feel good about who we are as a basketball team and that we can win this series. But that means nothing. We've got to do it in between the lines" said Indiana coach Frank Vogel.
It has already been a heated series with close games, incidents and altercations during games and shots fired during press conferences. Game 3 will be very intense and physical. Whoever comes well prepared for that will win.