Heat look to make adjustments with threat of 0-2 hole
The Indiana Pacers came out hot in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
As I pointed out in my article last week, the Pacers had to take advantage of the home crowd energy they have at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They sure did this time.
From the tip, Indiana took an early 7-0 lead and never looked back.
This was arguably the first real test this postseason for Miami. Having only lost once this playoff season prior to game 1, it was a gut check for the Heat.
No disrespect to the Pacers though, both the stars and role players shined bright on Sunday.
For the first time since January, all five of the Pacer starters scored double digits in the same game. Could the Pacers be finding their stride about now? Who honestly knows with this team.
Even though 70% of teams to win game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals win the series, it seems as if no one is worried for Miami. Despite the inconsistent Pacers being the first seed, the Heat are clearly nationwide favorites still.
Heck, it is hard to doubt the back-to-back defending champs. Especially when LeBron is on your team.
However, if the Pacers can pull out another home victory tonight, Miami may be in panic mode.
Indiana has already had their fair share of ups and downs this postseason. This is a new feeling for the Heat. It is critical that Miami takes note of game 1, and makes proper adjustments for game 2.
From watching the first game, it is evident to many that Chris Bosh has been MIA in important situations this last month. If Bosh cannot find his shot and make a legitimate impact, the rest of the Heat team may have to carry his weight.
One way that Bosh could thrive more efficiently is if the Heat keep him on the floor with Chris Andersen. Multiple times throughout the season Birdman and Bosh have played well together. It may be just the lineup that gets Bosh out of this playoff funk.
Aside from Bosh’s absence, the defensive matchups may be switched a bit for game 2. It would make a world of more sense for LeBron to defend Paul George. LeBron has the size and strength to contain George better than many of the rest on the team. The possibility of guarding George at different times is also a viable option. I trust James to guard anyone with the hot hand for Indiana.
With comments swirling around the media about Lance Stephenson and his remarks about Dwayne Wade and his knee, more attention has been drawn to that matchup. The Heat are defending champions, and should not let this media noise distract them from their goals.
Just as the Pacers can only succeed with a full out team effort, the same applies to the Heat. Before, Miami could often get away with simply having LeBron carry the brunt of the load. With injuries and inconsistency from both teams in various ways, it will take a team effort for either of these squads to win.
There is obviously a reason that these are two of the final four teams remaining. Both can capitalize off of the other’s errors.
The Heat desperately need to steal one on the road. If not, it will be fascinating to see how many people across the country begin to doubt the champs.
Most expect a solid outing from Miami tonight, with a definite response toward the doubts. Should be a close one in Nap Town.