There’s no vindication like winning in the NBA Playoffs. Indiana knows all about said feeling after their Game 2 win. Doubts cast over The Pacers’ inexperience, “meddle” and Frank Vogel’s best Mike Brown impersonation aren’t in current storylines: proving the occasional brevity of memories in sports.
Indiana’s early, double-digit leads became fools gold by half time but you have to like how they built their advantage on separate occasions. Quicker shots, getting to the line, strong team defense and getting Hibbert going from the start had Miami on their back heels despite making counter-runs.
NorBel became the cog spurring the Heat with 36 points on 14/20 shooting and 8 boards. Too bad the Pacers did their best to keep Miami’s supporting cast in check throughout the game. Wade dropped 14 on 14 shots, Bosh added some key threes with 17 on the night and everyone else went back into 2010-11 chill mode. It’s clear NorBel will get his in this series so these no-show performances from the rest of the gang can’t happen. Their best defensive strategy shouldn’t be, “Yo watch Lance Stephenson screw this up for them” either, although it almost worked.
The Pacers’ front court yields some key trends worth watching going forward. Their bigs provide a clear advantage and must be exploited on both ends to best Indiana’s chances at victory. Additionally, Game 2’s win masked David West’s cold shooting night. His 2/9 effort became less of an issue when he converted a key field goal down the stretch. Then he played his part in two huge, late game turnovers at NorBel’s expense: sealing Miami’s fate.
Hibbert, however, showed all the benefits of having a dependable center thus far. His rough season seems like ages ago as his rim protection, activity on the glass and hints of low post scoring create problems for the opposition. It’s easy to suggest throwing more double-teams at him but he does much of his damage on put backs, pick and rolls and switches. Miami’s poor paint presence has been exacerbated in both games so Spo’ and his staff need to dig deep for the next meeting.
Oh yeah, this happened.
Nothing says “I’m hear now, SUCKAS” like driving by NorBel and putting Birdman-Birdman’s mohawk in a blender. Paul George has hit the NBA upper class and everyone’s happy for him…except Danny Granger. Anyway this is the best dunk of the playoffs and I want MOAR.