Friday, May 23, 2014

Heat-Pacers Series Update

Miami hasn't looked like its dominant self against the Pacers. Wade's been good, but LeBron is due for a Game 6 Boston style LeBron game, and Bosh has been mediocre.

 The Pacers having their "overcoming adversity" moments in the earlier rounds of the Playoffs, but ultimately making it to the Eastern Conference Finals was something I feared because it would give them a renewed sense of confidence that they would be able to actually beat the Heat despite all their recent struggles. That's what makes Game 3 so important. The Heat got the split they wanted, and now they need to put the Pacers backs against the walls and put them in crisis mode. While the Heat have gone down in plenty of series (including against the Pacers and the Big Three era Celtics), the Pacers probably don't have the same level of resiliency against a world-class team like the Heat.

I expect LeBron to bring a sense of urgency to protecting home court, which the Heat wastefully squandered when the Pacers had all but handed it to them at the close of the regular season. A Greg Oden appearance, even for a few minutes, might help to spell Haslem and Birdman and give the Heat the little bit of boost they need to feel like they can compete with the Pacers size. The bigs, including Oden, don't need to be impact players; they simply need to box out and grab defensive rebounds so that LeBron, Wade, Bosh and the other role players don't feel like they need to take on the incredibly onerous burden of grabbing all the boards and bodying up big guys like West and Hibbert.