Heat Leads Series 3 Games To 2
By Dock Walls, @dockwalls
The Miami Heat crushed the Indiana Pacers by a score of 115-83 Tuesday. The reaction from Pacers team president Larry Bird was swift and definitive. “I can’t believe my team went soft,” Bird told Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star by phone. “S-O-F-T. I’m disappointed. I never thought it would happen.” Hibbert only madematters worse when he commented that Lebron and Wade looked kike they were playing in an “And 1” Game. I would argue it was more like a pick-up game. Indiana offered no resistance.
Game 4 was much more competitive. After being down by 8 at the half, Miami fought back to take a slim lead. With 16.2 seconds left to play in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semi Finals Series, the Miami Heat was leading the Indiana Pacers, by a score of 98 to 93. Lebron James was at the free throw line shooting two. He missed the first, but made the second. Although it was still a two possession game, that proved to be enough to secure this critical victory.
The much-criticized Miami Heat responded to the pressure and pulled out a win by a final score of 101 to 93. James scored 40 points and Wade added 30. Lebron James had 18 rebounds. The Pacers Danny Granger scored 20 to lead Indiana, which had a balanced attack. The series now goes back to Miami tied at 2 games apiece.
The Indiana Pacers are a young, talented team. Their average age is 25. Watson is the eldest at 30. McRoberts and Hibbert are the youngest at 22. These prohibitive underdogs, currently up two games to one, are hungry for an NBA championship. They are playing like no one told them that the Miami Heat are “invincible.”
Just last week, pundits, commentators and fans around the league were in total agreement that this best of seven game series was nothing more than a formality. It was supposed to be a walk in the park. Despite losing Chris Bosh to a knee injury, the Miami Heat handily won Game1of the series by a score of 95-86.
Apparently intoxicated by the easy Game 1 win, Miami seemed to be caught up in the hype. By tip-off time of game 2, the Heat were obviously looking past the Pacers and prematurely sizing up their likely Eastern Conference Championship opponent; possibly even their NBA Finals opponent. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation. This ambitious Pacers team which, by the way, pushed the Chicago Bulls to the limit in last year’s Eastern Conference semi-final series, rebounded from that game 1 loss.
Regular season MVP, Lebron “King” James, missed two crucial free throws down the stretch. Dewayne Wade missed an easy layup in the waning seconds of the game. Chalmers missed a last second three-point attempt. The Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat by a Game 2 final score of 78-75, and convincingly stole the home court advantage.
At home in Indianapolis, during game 3, the Pacers humiliated the Miami Heat. Down at one point by as much as 35 points, the Heat were never really in contention. They lacked swagger and were obviously frustrated. During a time out, Dewayne Wade got agitated with Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. After a heated exchange of words, Wade aggressively went after his coach, with evil intentions. Veteran Heat players had to step between them to prevent Wade from attacking Spoelstra. The final score of Game 3 was an embarrassing 75-94.
From all indications, Miami now understands the importance of winning at home and away. If they slip up, Lebron’s legacy will forever be tarnished.