Pacers paying no penalty for leaving Bosh open in series

By John Schuhmann,

VIDEO: GameTime: Pacers-Heat Talk Game 3

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat started small, with Shane Battier and LeBron James at forward. In Game 2, they started big, replacing Battier with Udonis Haslem.

The Heat won Game 2, but the bigger lineup didn’t really work. They were outscored by 18 points in 17 minutes with Haslem and Chris Bosh on the floor together. Add that to the combination’s Game 1 numbers and Miami is a minus-28 in 25 minutes with Bosh and Haslem both in the game.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Heat are better off playing small, because they’ve played well when Bosh has shared the floor with Chris Andersen. That pair is a plus-15 in 22 minutes together.

Still, that’s a minus-13 in 47 minutes with two bigs on the floor vs. a plus-7 in 49 minutes with just one big on the floor.

These small sample sizes, though, could be swung by one stretch of 5-6 minutes where James takes over (as he tends to do sometimes), where the Heat defense takes a rest (as it tends to do) or where the Pacers go ice cold (as they tend to do).

But all you have in a playoff series are small sample sizes. And they don’t get much bigger if you add in regular season meetings when one or both teams could have been playing the second night of a back-to-back. You sometimes have to make decisions and adjustments based on what’s happened in portions of games here and there. And it has to be a combination of what the numbers say and what your eyes are seeing.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will continue to mix small lineups with big lineups, in part because Battier can’t give Miami what he used to. When this version of the Heat won its first title in 2012, Battier was the guy – as a small-ball four who could shoot and defend – that really unlocked their floor-spacing identity.

He averaged more than 33 minutes per game in that postseason, but has played less than half that in all but three games in these playoffs. And neither Rashard Lewis nor Michael Beasley has been able to take over that role (or has seen the floor in the conference finals thus far).

“We’ve balanced [big and small] as much as we have in the three years this year,” Spoelstra said before Game 2. “And that was what this season required. So we’ve played a lot of different lineups. We have enough experience, different rotations to be able to play different styles of basketball without compromising what we do best.

“That might be what this series requires, but we have great versatility. We have confidence in our versatility. If we have to utilize all of it, whatever’s necessary.”

Not only has Lewis been removed from the rotation in this series, but so has James Jones, whose on-court numbers have been ridiculously good in the playoffs. So it would help if Bosh could make some shots.

Haslem is a decent mid-range shooter, but decent mid-range shooting doesn’t hurt the opposing defense. Andersen is a strong finisher and his well-timed dives to the rim have been successful against the Pacers in the past, but his range doesn’t extend beyond three feet.

It’s Bosh’s shooting that can really take Pacers center Roy Hibbert away from the basket or punish him for staying there. He did the latter on the one 3-pointer he’s hit in this series (which sparked Miami’s Game 2 comeback), but Bosh has missed the other eight threes he’s taken. And according to SportVU, six of the eight misses have been uncontested, including the very first shot of the series.

In six games against Indiana this season, Bosh is 4-for-20 (20 percent) on uncontested threes. Against other teams, he’s shot 37 percent. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, he shot 15-for-33 (45 percent) on uncontested threes. Then he went to Indiana and hit the side of the backboard.

For the most part, Hibbert has remained in the paint against the Heat. And for the most part, Bosh hasn’t been able to do anything about it. It’s become clear that this is not a good matchup for him, but open shots are open shots and they’ll continue to be there if he’s being defended by Hibbert. But whether the Heat are playing big or small, he’s going to have to start making some.


  1. Chipmounko says:

    Jolan, you’ve got a point, but only to a certain extent. When I see this I want to say : “Mr Bosh, what happened to you!?!”

  2. TMac says:

    @ okc2014… is funny you are on here talking trash when your team is on the verge of getting swept. You should be more concerned about whether your team will get it together instead of worrying about “Fish Bosh”. I like OKC, but I hope “Iblocka” does play so that the Spurs can prove that ONE player playing defense won’t matter. You guys are holding on to that 2012 memory, but sorry….that won’t be relived in 2014. “Iblocka” can’t block all those raining 3’s, though. Spurs punishing the Thunder at the perimeter.

  3. okc2014 says:

    I would rather have Serge Iblocka on my team any day, than Fish Bosh.

  4. Heddo says:

    First of all: There was never a Big Three in Miami. There is Lebron – the most dominant player in the league, and then Wade, a guy that used to be a real killer and still is really good (but not nearly as great as 4-5 years ago). Giving Bosh the same amount of money is ridiculous, because this guy should never be a Hall of Famer. He’s no center, that’s for sure. He’s a power forward, except he doesn’t have power – to rebound, to be dominant in the paint, to post up. He’s just shooting those mid-range jumpers and threes, which is pathetic, even if he’s relatively good at it, especially for such a tall guy. Truth is Miami lacks big men, lacks presence in the paint. They need to wake up, sell Bosh (but who would be so stupid to buy him for 20 million $ a year!) and get a true power forward / center.

  5. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    @ switzerlands finest

    not a bad idea… I think Coach Spo can be a bit stubborn when it comes to making lineup changes… even Tony Douglas wouldn’t be a bad option, he is a good defender and is a veteran who knows how to set up the offense properly..

  6. switzerlands finest says:

    call me crazy, but why not giving hamilton a shoot…7 footer with range…that could help opening up the lanes for lebron and wade

  7. Bernard Dionne says:

    Bosh gave up his chance to be a Hall of famer when he left the Raptors ! He was easily getting 30 points a game and he went for being in the shadow of Lebron and DWade. I really think he should be like Ginobili, the leader of the bench squad. Get back to be close to the basket, or shooting from inside the paint and score ! Now that would make the Heat very effecftive with Bosh.

  8. Arizon says:

    Bosh and Chalmer have been awful. They must go next season leaving room for new players. Nothing personal with those guys but they cannot compete in an NBA final. Putting all burden on LBJ and Wade is not fair. Andersen needs more minutes. He has been proven as terrific defender. With Bosh in the center Miami is going to lose. There is no need for Chalmer. LBJ and Wade can play the ball adding another big guy on the floor or a three point shooter

  9. educatedron says:

    Bosh really hurts the team. He has weak core and center of gravity. It looks very awkward when he runs.

    He has in his mind he’s a 3 point jump shooter. Yes, if you shoot 20 a game you will hit a couple. Miami already week at rebounding, so to take one of their biggest people to the 3 point line is in Indiana’s advantage.

    Some players think its more cool to shoot jumpers than to post up.

  10. Sean says:

    Spo tested Oden against Hibbert couple of times and the result was not pretty at all for the Heat. Hibbert almost ate him alive down in that post area. Therefore, it makes sense that Spo is not testing no more coz this aint no regular season game. This is playoffs yo!!!

  11. Mark Melius says:

    Bosh needs to step up. He is getting paid as much as lebron and d wade and is not playing what he is getting paid to do. He needs to prove his worth and do his job. I think Miami should let him go and get 3 good players including a center next season. I really like Bosh. He is a good player and has stepped up and helped Miami win big games, like the game 7 against spurs in the NBA finals. But if he cannot step up and play when needed, he will have to go. Lebron & D wade cannot do it all. Bosh has got to step up.

    • Pakyaw says:

      Dude, Bosh got 0 pts in game 7 finals..

      • jOLAN says:

        0 points, but he helped impact the game in other ways. Bosh is probably the best 3rd option you can get on a team. He plays center but he should be a power forward. I like Kevin Love, but all the people drooling over him is ridiculous. He can’t even lead a team to the playoffs, yet he is gonna want a max contract where ever he goes. Bosh has changed his game to suite the Heat. If he was trying to put up numbers like he did in Toronto, the team would suffer because of it.

  12. TheKush says:

    I don’t think Bosh is a hall of famer! Heat have 3 hall of famers wade, LBJ, Ray Allen, Bosh is a very good role player

  13. thespectator says:

    oden must not be showing signs of any improvement and now is not the time to put him into the line up and “try” things…bosh needs to see buckets goin thru the rim…build his confidence that way..its only a matter of time, when you got lebron and dwade in your ear tellin you get your game on tracks, hes gonna eventually get there…he may not hit all his shots but he hits the big ones, just like how he did in game 2…

  14. okc2014 says:

    Odom wasn’t a good choice for the Heat. Has been useless. Go Pacers.

  15. jdub455 says:

    if cb4 makes his perimeter, pacers are in a whole lotta trouble… the confidence in his shots is just not their esp if he is playin center coz he knows a missed shot, will translate to a rebound by the pacers… he should always play along birdman / haslem… where the hell is oden? he was taken to match up against hibbert and yet he is inactive…

    • mee(a)t says:

      Back problems

    • Exactly, if CB starts hitting those shots it might be over for the Pacers. But others are shooting horrible too, so it’s not only CB in that Heat squad. It’s only Lebron & Dwade doing quite well.

      Oden who??? The way Hibbert found back his game, Oden would not even matter on the floor. So I guess Pat & Spo don’t even think about letting Oden wear an uniform in this series.

      So I guess it is the spectator Oden that you mean. You got the right one baby uh huh. 🙂