MIAMI – Maybe someone on the Miami bench got the memo from Pat Riley.
Whatever it was, the days of the Heat scoffing at the Indiana Pacers’ “tough” tactics – mostly embodied by Danny Granger’s yapping through the first four games – ended with a thud – and an oomphs and a crunch or two – in Game 5 Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Granted, Tyler Hansbrough initiated the physical stuff Tuesday in what became Miami’s 115-83 blowout victory, good for a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven playoff series. Hansbrough smothered Dwyane Wade on a drive to the basket and opened a cut above the Miami shooting guard’s right eye, sending him to the bench for some corner work and earning Hansbrough a flagrant-1 foul.
That was at 10:23 of the second quarter. Only 41 seconds later, Miami got some payback that seemed right from the old Riley playbook (New York days especially) of smash-mouth basketball. And he is the Heat team president, after all.
Udonis Haslem – who had suffered a similar bloody gash over his right eye in Game 4, thanks to an errant Louis Amundson elbow – saw the opening when Hansbrough got the ball on the left wing and came forward, jumping to shoot. The Heat power forward went up with two arms high and brought them down hard, way right of the ball but hard at Hansbrough’s head. Down went Hansbrough, as the Miami crowd roared.