Miami Heat Win Away From Finishing Indiana Pacers
By: Pat Williams
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
First things first. David Stern had not ruled on the pending suspensions of the Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem or the Indiana Pacers’ Tyler Hansborough as we go to press. Heat scrub big man Dexter Pittman’s cheap shot on Lance Stevenson will certainly result in a multiple-game suspension, but due to his overall lack of talent, Pittman's absence shouldn't affect the rest of the series.
Haslem not playing will definitely affect the Miami Heat. Already playing without Chris Bosh, the Heat would have to rely on Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony as their only two remaining big men. Haslem not only brings toughness, experience and a championship pedigree to the Heat, he’s regained confidence in his mid-range jump shot in Miami’s back to back victories over the Pacers.
Haslem’s recent scoring surge is the first time he has recorded consecutive double-digit scoring performances since February.
It goes without saying Miami has definitely captured the momentum in this series. After the embarrassing loss in Game 3, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have since dominated the Pacers with 128 points between them. Combining for 58 points in Game 5 on 22-of-37 shooting, these two all-stars are turning lazy Indiana passes and missed jump shots into highlight fast breaks.
Indiana must stop penetration on defense while reestablishing the inside game of Roy Hibbert and David West on the offensive end. In Indiana’s Game 3 win. and possibly its final victory of the series, West and Hibbert teamed for 33 points and grabbed 27 rebounds. But they but have only managed 36 combined points since.
The Pacers have not responded to any of the Miami Heat’s scoring runs in the last two games. After appearing competent and confident in Game 3, the Pacers now seem “Dazed and Confused.” Indiana head coach Frank Vogel must find a way to get his team into their sets in critical moments in the game. George Hill and Darren Collison only recording three assists in Game 5 is not only unacceptable, their combined lack of playmaking absolutely destroyed any chance Indiana had in staying close in the last two losses.
Danny Granger left Game 5 early in the second half with a rolled ankle and although listed as probable for Game 6, Granger not playing at 100 percent will ultimately doom the Indiana Pacers. James has pretty much held him in check so far in the series, but Granger still represents Indiana’s number one scoring option.
If Haslem plays, the Heat should close out the series Thursday night and return home to South Beach to rest and begin preparation for the winner of the Celtics-Sixers series.
The Heat are listed as 3½ point favorites on the Don Best odds screen with a posted total of 182.