The Miami Heat took a 2-1 lead on Saturday night and perhaps more than that, they look like they suddenly have as much control over the Pacers as they have in a long time. Tonight, as we honor America’s veterans, the Heat will look to take a very commanding 3-1 lead. I’m going to touch on game three a bit because it leads into what has to happen for the Pacers to draw even. Let’s get to it.
Indiana at Miami (-6.5), Heat Leads 2-1 – The Miami Heat found themselves in an early hole in game three but turned it around quickly behind the veteran play of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen. Miami trailed by 15 points in the first half before turning it up a notch at both ends of the court. For the Pacers, it was yet another installment of “losing to the Heat when the chips are down.”
The Pacers’ Paul George scored 17 points on 5 for 13 shooting in his return from a concussion suffered in game two. He was the team’s leading scorer as once again the Pacers were outscored in the paint by Miami 40-38. Frankly, this just shouldn’t be happening. Although Roy Hibbert has played better since his disappearing act through the first series and half, he still is not nearly as dominant as he should be.
My other concern for the Pacers now is the fact that Frank Vogel is being outcoached at almost every turn. His team seems to start well but when in-game adjustments are necessary, he is losing the battle to Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra. Arguments could easily be made that the talent Spoelstra is dealing with is better but that isn’t the point here.
Indiana is more than capable of winning this series but the adjustments just aren’t happening. Both Hibbert and David West were -21 in game three which tells me that both, and especially Hibbert were on the floor too long. Vogel has to recognize things sooner. Miami went to an incredibly small line-up which was having success and Vogel waited far too long adapt. Game three was not the first time this happened either.
If you’re looking for an X-factor for Indiana it has to be Luis Scola. The problem is that Frank Vogel has to allow Scola to stay on the court. He was a big factor in the first half of game three but then disappeared in the second half and I don’t necessarily blame him for that. Vogel has to keep the hot-hand on the floor.
I had Indiana winning this series in seven games and while that is still possible, I have lost a tremendous amount faith in their ability to do so. The Heat have shot over 50% in all three games of this series and that’s against a Pacers’ team that arguably is the best defensive team in the NBA. Indiana can ultimately pick things up on the offensive end of the court if they pick up the D first.
This is the ultimatum game for me and Indiana. I expect their best effort this evening so take them getting the points and I also like the UNDER this evening as well.
Keep an eye on… Indiana is 8-17 against the spread in its last 25 games on the road… Miami is 5-0 straight up in its last 5 games when playing at home against Indiana… Indiana is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games when playing Miami… The total has gone OVER in seven of Miami’s last nine games when playing at home against Indiana… O/U is 183.5