Pacers’ D, Lineup Moves Outlast Big 2





MIAMI – It was happening again. The Indiana Pacers’ offense had ground to a halt and whatever five they had on the floor, they were getting outscored by the Miami Heat’s big two, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. It was Heat superstars 21, Pacers 17, with more than two minutes left and Indiana’s lead down to 76-75. Plenty of time for heroes to be heroes.

And then, nothing. Truly nothing. Wade missed four shots from there. James got blocked on the doorstep by young Pacers guard Paul George and, with 54.3 seconds left, same score, bricked a pair of free throws, instantly bringing all his “fourth quarters, playoff games” critics to life like vampires rising at sunset.

The Pacers were no prizes themselves down the stretch: George missed a pair of free throws at 1:20, Roy Hibbert and George Hill split their pairs in the final minutes. Yet they hung on, trusted their defense and fended off the two Miami attack dogs who’d been unleashed, allegedly, by the departure of injured forward Chris Bosh.

Indiana tucked away its 78-75 victory at AmericanAirlines Arena and grabbed homecourt advantage two games into the Eastern Conference semifinals series by playing grittier basketball, focusing on defense and deploying a small lineup that gave Miami the sort of fits it usually dispenses. The Pacers battled inside to a 50-40 rebounding edge, held Miami to 34.6 percent shooting and had the Heat at 1-of-21 from 3-point range even as Miami was scrambling to launch one more in the final seconds.

That one by Mario Chalmers clanged off too — make it 1-of-22 — and all the assurances Indiana coach Frank Vogel gave his squad at halftime when they trailed 38-33 came true.

After eyeballing their flat performance through 24 minutes, Vogel urged the Pacers to calm down. And to stay tough. They built their lead to 11 points by sticking the ball inside on Miami. They got the Heat to miss 14 of 17 shots and outscored them 28-14. By the end, three Pacers – David West, Roy Hibbert and George – were in double digits in rebounds, which was three more than the Heat could manage.

“You start talking about smash-mouth basketball,” Vogel said. “It’s about winning the wars in the trenches. Defense and rebounding. That’s the East Coast basketball I grew up watching.”

Vogel also grabbed at some basketball he had just been personally involved in: Having dispatched Orlando in the first round, Indiana had dealt with the game on its smaller side. So he went that way for a spell against Bosh-less Miami, subbing Leandro Barbosa for center Hibbert and picking up intensity.

“We downsized a little bit,” West said.

Said Vogel: “Their small lineup, we played against this an entire series.”

Indiana used a 20-6 run over the final seven minutes of the third quarter for a 61-52 lead heading into the fourth. Then it toughened up: Point guard Darren Collison weathered a frustration flagrant foul from Wade on a breakout, the referees rushing over to pre-empt any escalation. Midway through the period, James and Danny Granger earned double technical fouls for a skirmish that had James’ headband snapping off, then the Miami star probing back at Granger with a elbow.

But the advice Vogel had given them earlier – calm down – stayed with them. Indiana kept hurting the Heat inside – Barbosa’s layup to edge the Pacers back 73-72, and West’s that made it 76-73 with 2:53 left.

“They created their easiest opportunities right at the rim during that stretch when we weren’t scoring,” groused Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

Now it’s headed to the Pacers’ gym, their confidence high for Games 3 and 4, their concerns about Bosh (abdominal strain) academic probably for the series. But there was Vogel again, the voice of reason.

“The way we felt after Game 1 is how they’re feeling now,” he said of Miami. “They’re going to bring everything they’ve got in Game 3. We have to think about keeping an edge while their edge just got sharper.”


64 Comments

  1. Greg Bartlett says:

    Pacers Gonna Run The Heat Over Like A Race Car In The Indianapolis 500 W/Bosh or W/Out Bosh lol…..Who Think Im Joking?

  2. CAVALIERNATIC says:

    ^Oh hater please get a grip or grow Up. You keep crying over LBJ and the Heat yet you won’t miss one Heat game! In the meantime keep paying your cable bill. You’re gonna need cable to watch your fav team(MIAMI) year after year making the playoff and winning multiple Larry O’brien trophies. Plus your Cleveland Cavaliers won’t be seeing prime time(playoff)till 2099!!! you heard me 2099. Anyway by then you won’t be around cause HATE is your cancer!

  3. Wanchu says:

    Lebrick said, NOT only one, NOT only two, NOT only three, NOThing will come for them this year, even the championship ring. Way to go… PACERS; as the heaven above, you will win the series.

    • CAVALIERNATIC says:

      ^Oh hater please get a grip or grow Up. Your keep crying over LBJ and the Heat yet you won’t miss one Heat game Lol! Keep paying your cable bill cause your Cleveland Cavaliers won’t being seeing the first round till 2099.By then you won’t around. Cause of death: HATING ON LEBRON!

  4. Nowitzsskii says:

    To much blame for Spo and LBJ? Spo dont have a choice Wade and James is their best player on the court also their bench is not that good so expect to much minutes for james also for wade. LBJ decision and giving the ball to wade is good because Wade overpower Hill on the post but can’t convert. Im tired of reading ” Without Bosh Still heat win?” “Heat Vs OKC?” To much love for the heat will kill you fans! Pacers no Superstar? How bout D.West? Pacers can beat them to game 6 is they cannot contain D.west also Hibbert. And if Granger score it will to much for the heat to bear. Im a Mavs fan sory Heat but what? Not 1 not 2 3 4 5? Goodluck.

  5. Gasaul says:

    It´s gonna be an interesting series. Average good players and a better bench against arguably the best duo in the league. With Bosh out, Miami has finally a mismatch in the paint. So both teams know where and how the can hurt each other.

    For me, Indiana has to slow LJ, Wade just by 5 points each from their average and have a solid offense to get another win(games were so close it takes “just” that). They have to make it harder for them to score, make them carry the responsability from early on in the game, every game and it ll be a long series for Miami. On the other hand can Indiana mantain a solid offense and a good ball movement and West strong and productive? Miami can surely close better the paint with Lebron helping out to balance the paint superiority of Indiana. I wanna see the MVP committed on defense, not just 2 highlights of chase down blocks, i wanna see him 1 on 1 with West and Granger and what he is capable of.
    Nice series ahead..

    • JD2point0 says:

      They simply need to take away opportunities by rebounding, contesting shots, rebounding, protecting the ball, and REBOUNDING. Take away the second chance opportunities of the superstars… you take point away from superstars.

  6. another basketball fan says:

    Those of you who said the Pacers going to win this series, it ain’t gonna happen. You all forgot that NBA is a business, the Pacers hasn’t win a championship in years, it didn’t happen when they had their hall of famer(Reggie Miller) and it won’t happen this year. There’s not much money to be made there for the NBA. After seeing how the Heat lost that game 4 against the crippled Knicks and DWade and Lebron missed those shots last night, shots they usually made in their sleep, I just gave up on watching the NBA. College basketball here I come.

    • JD2point0 says:

      So the pacers’ missed shots are irrelivant? They had plenty of missed opportunities, but still pulled out the win. Again i say it… Miami was luck to be down ONLY 3 points at the end.

  7. GoBulls says:

    The pacers are well organized and balanced. However, the heat got here only because of their 3 all-stars. Horrible coach. A bench with potential that is squandered due to LBJ or D Wade handling the ball 90% of the time. Take away 1 all-star, and you get the rest of them exhausted trying to play 2 roles at once. Come on, heat. You’re unpopular because watching basketball with your superstars squandering the game (hint hint D Wade). Sign off 1 or 2 of your stars and get a steady bench, because without the big 3, the heat would be the Cubs of the NBA

  8. Heat Fan says:

    There are a lot of you people get to excited because of one win from the Pacers, thats funny. They lost game one then came back to win game two… now its Miami’s turn… Chalmers, Battier, Miller, Udonis all got to step up to win. And make some 3’s 1/22 for the series so far… Pacers got David West there only consistant player… i bet lebron will stop David and wont score that much, and Danny is unconsistant… he was good with orlando now he’s bad… Roy hibbert he is the tallest on the court, do they give the ball that much…. Miami will win the series with or withouth CB but it will be harder.
    One player has to step up for the win with pacers and that is Norris Cole off the bench, he doesnt need plays from lebron to score the ball… he can dribble in and score, might get blocked a couple times but will keep on coming, also he’s not bad defender.

  9. Matic Lebar says:

    I really like how Granger returned the favour of physical play and elbowed James to the head. That’s sending a message of not backing down. Go Indiana! (Coming from a Celtics fan)

  10. TTKIN says:

    Im a Laker fan but since I know they wont win, Im rooting for Indiana and SA to make it to the Finals. 2 teams who play basketball the right way.

  11. Zach Gillette says:

    Player playing too long is simply bad coaching. Spoelstra is the reason the Heat fail.

    • ... says:

      he doesnt really have much choice when wade and lebron are the only to willin to play. having said that i agree with you, Spo is a bad coach. Garenteed Pat would provide better plays to close games. its sad really.

      • TTKIN says:

        I agree with u both. Spoelstra doesnt have much choice. There is literally not a single other person on that team who can run a play. so he’s stuck with that.

        BUT…Miami was a number 5 seed when Wade was there by himself. They picked up the best player in the game, and a well known allbeit overrated PF, and yet theyve been a 2 seed both years. Chicago may have some of the best team play and defense, but if u have the best player and 2 guys as hyped as wade and bosh, u should be able to beat them out for the #1. There are coaches out there who dont necessarily win the title, but known for being great coaches. they wana stick with D…why not go after Nate McMillan. Where would he rather coach, Charlotte with the worst team ever, or Miami with a team full of on-ball defenders?

  12. Keyon says:

    LeBron and Wade are not compatible. They play the same style (although LeBron is a better facilitator) and without Bosh there, they dont have that outlet. They’re just going to get more isolation heavy and become more stagnant without Bosh to space to floor. Indiana does not have to respect Miami’s bigs and with them clogging the paint, the shooters for Miami wont really have good looks.

  13. Mr, McPACER says:

    The Pacers will win this series. They have to much depth for the Heat to deal with.

  14. Ras Tafari says:

    Who coached Jordan when he won his championships? who coached Shaq? who coached Magic? who coached Kobey? Phil Jackson and Pat Riley. Point is , great palyers win championships because thay had great coaches. Jordan insisted on having Jackson as coach. Who coach Charles Barkley? who coached Lebron? who is coaching Lebron? good coaches not great coaches. By the way, the Spurs have a great coach, and there are a couple of anomalies. So before the talking heads tear into Lebron, remember the coach needs to step up; Kobey and Jordan did not win anything without Phil Jackson.

  15. Dem' Bulls says:

    Larry Bird did a great Job Designing this team, but they need to be more consistent offensively if there going to beat the heat in this series. The heat aren’t gonna have back to back to back nights like this, and Lebron isn’t gonna miss those 2 free throws to put them up too many times. yeah they walked away with a narrow win but if battier and miller start hitting from outside, I don’t see the pacers keeping up with the tenacity of the heat

    • JD2point0 says:

      I might point out… the pacers collectively also shot VERY pourly at the line in the last quarter. So the hype about the missed free throws by James…. are just as uncharacteristic as the missed freethrows by a number of Pacers. Miami was lucky to be only 3 points down at the end of game 2. Point is… Miami will shoot much better in game 3 i’m sure, but here’s the kicker… so will the pacers.

  16. W/E says:

    everyone is acting like the heat is a super team or sth…NOT EVEN CLOSE all of the 4 western teams left are better than miami, they got their “SUPERSTARS” as well but whats more important they got a far more better BENCH(with the exception of lakers) ,chemistry and COACHING(except clippers)

  17. inyoface says:

    go Pacers!

  18. DeAndre says:

    Pacers are beating heat no doubt i bet a grand on that, Pacers got the 2nd best starting lineup in the nba behind OKC

    • Bulls2012 says:

      I would not go that far..The only reason the Pacers are successful is because they play as a team and have a decent bench. Ill still take Miami, Chicago, Okc, spurs, lakers, memphis starting lineups b4 the pacers…NOT HATING ON THE PACERS IM PREDICTIING THEM TO BEAT THE HEAT NOW BC MIAMI HAS THE WORST TWO BIG MEN NOW IN THE LEAGUE (THE NETS HAVE A BETTER POWERFORWARD AND CENTER THAN THE HEAT) The pacers have a good lineup with a above average bench thats how they are so dangerous.

      Cheers from GERMANY GO Pacers

  19. Pacers Rule!! says:

    I’ve been a Pacer fan for a long time. I’ve told people all year to watch out for the Pacers this year. I feel that the Pacers will beat the Heat but its going to be hard. I hate the Heat. I can’t stand any team that has to have a “BIG 3″ in order to win. Yes, I do think that Heat could beat the Pacers but I’m sticking with the Pacers. GO PACERS!!

  20. Spiller says:

    Wade should get suspended for this foul! Jason Smith got suspended for the exact same thing.

    • TTKIN says:

      Ryan Braunn didnt get suspended for using roids. Nothing will happen to Wade. And he knows it…hence the hit on a guy 5 inches and about 40 pounds less. Yup, ur a real man now Dwayne.

      (I agree with u if u cant tell I was being sarcastic haha)

  21. BFoulds says:

    I have Pacers winning this series in 7. Let’s see if I’m right.

    LeBron. I am sorry that your team is not that good. Without you, this team falls out of the playoffs in my opinion. Your coach is weak. Your bench is weak. You should have stayed home in Cleveland.

    -Spurs fan

    • TTKIN says:

      Pacers wont win game 7 but thats only cuz it’s in Miami, but I still pick them winning the series. I have the spurs winning the title. Let’s look at the teams left:

      Sixers – pinch me if they beat SA
      Boston – old timers finals?
      Miami – 2 guys cant beat the spurs
      Indy – the only team with enough depth
      OKC – what happens when the jumpshots arent falling?
      Lakers – lost twice by 20+ to the Spurs in the final 2 weeks of the season
      Clippers – del negro outcoaching Pop…HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Spurs are going all the way, theyve won like 15 straight but no one is talkin bout them much. BTW, they destroyed the Clippers in Game 1. not a good sign when ur excited to cut the lead to 8 in the final period.

      -LAKER fan

  22. DeJuan Foster says:

    #PACERNATION out here SHOCKIN THE WORLD!!!!

  23. Jack says:

    @QUEENLEBRON: keep dreaming man,..i know u are from cleveland and same blood with your owner gilbert,…pray that the pacers will win this series becoz it will haunt you,..hahaha crazy hater!

    • Jackol says:

      u stupid . that’s his opinion and what u just said is clearly out of basis . just pray u bandwagon heat fan.

  24. nbapacersfan says:

    The Indiana Pacers are going to shock the world…. stay tuned !

  25. chubbena says:

    Pacers fans beware. If Wade gets another non call he just might come up to the stands to get you. World peace!

  26. HeatWade says:

    the real problem of the Heat is the cast other than the Big 3. they must get their a*ses off their heads and start providing some offense to back the stars up. i don’t know but they seem to lose their confidence right after the all star break and been in a flunk since. if Spo can’t find a remedy for this then we might witness a MOST CELEBRATED UPSET in nba history…

  27. lord p says:

    Hey you Pacers fans you won the game cause James and Wade lose it by themselves not cause your team play that great in the 4th..Wade never miss that type of shot again..ever!!

    • JD2point0 says:

      Wade miss alot… 8-22 i believe… about the same in game one. So your “Wade not miss…” …. Wade do miss. Wade miss alot. (the bad grammer was used to mock you if that wasn’t clear)

  28. Brenn bell says:

    What this NBA needs is more teams….I said teams like the Pacers. Superstars and their attitudes have ruined NBA basketball. Fans really do want to see good hard fought team basketball more than superstar flopping and superstar whining…. GO Pacers

    • TTKIN says:

      We may be witnessing it right now. I called Indy to win this series even before Bosh went down. They can still win with him on the floor. OKC has superstars, but their supporting cast is pretty darn good too. SA is another one who uses team ball despite having superstars. That team seriously does not care who scores. Memphis woulda been another had they not screwed off at the end of game 1…and the rest of the series. Of the 8 teams left, look at who all uses team ball and not superstars (Philly, Indy, SA, Chicago had they not been torn apart by the injury bug, Boston had a big 3 but they use everyone now, and OKC somewhat). We have plenty, notice Miami is like the only superstar team left (the lakers wont last long). So basketball might finally be turning around!

  29. Law064 says:

    It could be an upset because of the lost of Bosh. It is odvious that Bosh is needed considering the size of the pacers. I have to agree that Lebron is a choker and he showed by missing not 1 but 2 FT late in the 4th. With that being said the game was very close despite Bosh being out so Indy has to step it up also. The Heat are still capable of winning this series without Bosh so the Pacers better realize they have an edge and need to take advantage of it. Good game from the Pacers making this an even series going home. Let’s see what happens Thursday.

  30. QUEEN LEBRON says:

    I like Indiana Pacers a team having no superstars, a team of hardwork, a team against the odds .particulary a team that every player are important and contribute.The fighting spirit of that the coach bring out to the players is excellent

  31. Rage says:

    It is now evident that Bosh is needed in this series more than ever. The Heat lacking in height, has a limited offensive presence inside the paint without CB. The Heat are getting out rebounded and outhustled inside by the pacers.

    Long minutes for LBJ and Wade spells fatigue and increases their risk of injury. The Heat, already missing their 3rd best scorer and inside threat are going to need lots of minutes from LBJ and Wade just to keep up with the pacers.

    It does no good for the Heat to have this series extended to 6 or probably even 7. Because this entails LBJ and Wade to log 40+ minutes per game.. The odds are now against the Heat..

    CB has always been one of the centerpieces of the Heat. Anyone who thinks otherwise were fooling themselves and delusional believing that CB was a just waste of space!

  32. heat nomore says:

    Go indy beat the heat!

  33. Jayson says:

    Cmon guys, LBJ is a choker and Pacers will win this series. West and Hibbert will punish them on the paint. Wade is the dirtiest player in NBA nowadays, everybody knows it and not KG. Last season he broke Rondo’s arms the Heat it should have been C’s and Mavericks. Too bad C’s cannot take revenge this year because they will be beaten by Pacers who doesn’t have SUPERSTAR!

  34. z3rOoOo says:

    all of a sudden, i can see a lot of bandwagoners of the pacers.. what the heck did these HEAT guys do to u that just make evryone so angry.. Chill.. hahaha.. i just dont understand how childish people are these days, just like how bitter the people are in cleveland and worst the owner of that ballclub that just basically out of frustration goes all the way out and made a daring statement that they would won 1st before miami does.. At least try to make it closer to happening..

    Either u hate them or not but i know most of u haters are watching evry heat game.. Such a bunch of cry babies and whinners.. Grow up people..

  35. Ray says:

    Go Indiana Pacers… anybody but the Heat!

  36. Bigpoppa says:

    Where are all the Bosh haters now? The last time I checked, basketball is still a team sport. Miami will always have twgigpoppao of the best players on the court in these playoffs but will struggle against deep teams. None of the Heats remainng bigs can shoot so spacing will be an issue for the Heat.

  37. Dan says:

    Wade. Metta World Peace. Is there a difference between the two? How many flagrants does Wade need to commit before he starts catching some heat (no pun intended) for this s*it?

  38. Hunter says:

    I’ve been keeping an eye on these pacers since I started obsessivly following nba in the 99 2000 season. Keep it up boys! Larry Bird got good pieces in this offseason with david west, goerge hill, luis amundson, barbosa to complement, Hibbert, Granger and the rest. Vogul was a good pickup coach too. With Bosh being out however long the Pacers should capitalize off of this. If they take the series they may be able to get into the finals. But now the series is just starting so anything could happen.
    GO INDY!

  39. Rivers says:

    Please god, let them beat the Miami floppers in this 7 game series.

    • Hunter says:

      Yeah really, if they can beat the heat, the sky is the limit.

    • Sick says:

      in your dreams … hahaha

      • BD in Indy says:

        Please explain why its just a dream? Lets list the facts here: Pacers top ten in defense and offense. Only 4 games seperated the two teams in reg season. Pacers thumped Miami late in season on final regular game between the two. Miami losses center for possibly the rest of the series. Only two real scorers left on Miami team. Pacers have scorers in (8) players. LOL look at the facts. Not saying Pacers are going to win the series but to say “In your dreams” is just goofy.

  40. Mido says:

    I can’t understand LBJ or Wade any more, yes I can understand that you can’t be perfect always, but also Super stars should maintain a solid above abverage performance (or why they are called super stars)… 2 minutes and NOTHING … as a Miami Fan I hate it, and as a NBA fan it kills the fun of the game to watch hereos that empty !!

    • Francisco says:

      EASY TO EXPLAIN, STARTS , SUPERSTARS, THAT DOES NOT EXIST IN ANY SPORT, WHOEVER HAS THE BEST STATS IS THE BEST PLAYER, IF YOU DIVIDE ANY GAME MATEMATICALLY IN ANY STRECTH ALL PLAYER HAVE UP AND DOWNS.

  41. spelkey55 says:

    I’m a Celtics fan and I hope the Pacers make the Heat work just as hard to win the series as I KNOW Philly is and will the C’s. Both the Pacers and 76ers are great young teams with strong young legs. I don’t care how good and experienced you are your gonna have to but hump to advance over either of these two teams! But with all that said GO! CELTICS!!!