The Miami Heat trail the Indiana Pacers 2-1 in their second-round series in the NBA playoffs, but after an awful game three, the hole feels much bigger than that.
Miami was blown out 94-75 in game three, the first of the series in Indiana, in a game that saw head coach Eric Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade get into a shouting match on the sideline. Wade was 2-of-13 shooting for five points in game three as a racous crowd rained down chants of Beat the Heat at every available opportunity.
LeBron James scored 22 points, but 16 of them came in the first half as Miami only scored 32 points in the second half. To add to their problems, Chris Bosh is still out with an abdominal problem.
ESPN's Michael Wallace has also reported that Wade is dealing with lingering injuries in his legs that date back to the regular season. Wade missed eight of the final 15 games the Heat played in this season with ankle, foot and knee issues.
Even though things look grim for the Heat, a win here sends them back to South Florida with the series tied and the momentum in their favor; if Miami can do it without Bosh and with less than 100 percent of Wade that is.
Much of the rest of the series will rest squarely on the shoulders of James. The recently crowned regular season MVP had 32 points and 15 rebounds in game one, but since Bosh has been hurt and James has had to play the power forward spot more, his numbers have gone down.
James scored 28 and grabbed nine rebounds in game two then fell to 22 points and seven rebounds in game three. If Miami wants to hang around in this series they are going to need James to take over and dominate, something he has been very reluctant to do, especially in the playoffs.
Where to watch: The game can be viewed online at www.firstrowsports.eu/sport/basketball.html. It will also be broadcast nationally on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Prediction: Miami will be looking to James to lead them out of the hole that they are in, the only problem is James has never been a guy to do that, especially in the playoffs. Indiana's aggressive attack and home floor advantage should be enough to overwhelm the Heat.
Predicted Score: Indiana over Miami 89-82