Posts Tagged ‘Physical’

The Indiana Pacers: #BeatTheHeat  <-(Click Here For Highlights)

On February 1st the leagues top two defensive teams faced off. When the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat play it’s always a physical game. Even before last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals they had intense games. The Heat took the first two season meetings, the first one was a crushing victory. The second game was one in overtime with a last second shot by Dwayne Wade. Most people will say that the Heat didn’t win the game but the Pacers lost it themselves.

The Pacers exposed a lot of the Heat’s flaws. Everyone knows that Miami is not the best rebounding team and that they lack depth and toughness in the front court. David West and company attacked the low post almost every time down the court. When West feels Shane Battier on his back it was almost an automatic bucket from there. Through three quarters West only missed one shot.

Another player who played big was Lance Stephenson. He may not be a household name but he is a guy who will try his hardest to out-hustle you. He’s an in-your-face defender and it looked like Wade and LeBron were not fully prepared for that. Throughout the game you could catch the two complaining to the ref about the physical play of Lance. They also got ticked off by Lance’s steady trash talking after plays and when he slapped the ball out of LeBron’s hands just for fun. At halftime he and Wade both had similar numbers so he had to be doing something right.

Paul George had a bigger night than what his numbers showed. He may be an all-star but the way the Pacer’s offense is ran, everyone is involved. He didn’t force anything at all during this game. Even with LeBron on him he was able to pick and choose his spots. On the defensive end he was solid as well. He had one series that showed his versatility on both ends of the court. After hitting a three he instantly intercepted a pass as soon as the ball came across half-court. That steal lead to a euro-step past a defender and into a two hand slam.

At one point in the game it looked like Indy was about to blow the lid off of their lead. It almost got out of hand. You could see the frustration in all the faces of all the Miami Heat players and coaching staff. There were two trips down the court where LeBron was slamming the ball while he was dribbling. It was just a really bad night night for them.

The Pacers laid the blueprint on how to beat them. Going forward i’m sure that teams with large, skilled big men will expose these flaws down low. Although Hibbert was a non factor on offense people around the organization still have faith that he will turn things around later in the season. If he wasn’t in such of a slump that game would’ve been worse for Miami.

The heat are actively searching for an anchor in the paint. They have recently signed Chris Anderson, better known as “Birdman”, to his second 10-day contract. His play has been pretty promising for them. He’s very athletic and provides great size for a team that’s lacking it. Miami may not need a dominant player in the post game on offense but they definently need a guy with size that can provide toughness and rebounding. The way their offense is set up it’s mostly drive and kick, or pick and pop with Bosh.

Expect to see many more great battles between these two ball clubs in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if these teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers are headed in the right direction and the Miami Heat will be the team to beat for some time. Basketball is back in Indiana and it’s a beautiful thing.

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