On Thursday night, May 30th, in the fifth game of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, someone will draw a line in the sand. The Miami Heat had their opportunity to draw a line in the sand during game four of the series. The Heat had a 2-1 lead in the series and a win at Indiana would have put the Pacers on notice that this series was now being commandered by the NBA's defending champion Miami Heat. That did not happen.
Miami completely decimated the Pacers in game three at Bankers Life Fieldhouse beating the Pacers 114-96 and the final score is not indicative of the beating the Indiana Pacers received.
The primary game adjustment component was that Miami used Lebron James as the low post player to regain dominance of the inside game, controlling the paint. Paul George was unable to guard James one on one. Maimi utilized Lebron James to regain a good chunk of the paint area. Roy Hibbert, David West with their post play and the Pacers guards Paul George, George Hill and Lance Stephenson's penetration attacks set the tone in game 2 of the series.
Another major component that surged the Heat to victory is all the help James received from Dwayne Wade, who looked like his old self, attacking the basket and hitting his outside shots while staying in the attack mode. Chris Bosh who was hitting his outside shot forcing Hibbert away from the paint, while also successfully taking Hibbert to the buckets off the dribble.
The Heat also received much needed help from Udonis Haslem who was also hitting from the outside while being aggressive on the boards. The outside effectiveness and penetration of Mario Chalmers and the contributions from the Miami bench was too much for the Pacers. Chris Andersen was shooting 100% from the field for several games combined. The all in contributions of the Miami Heat starters and their bench led to the great execution displayed in game 3 showing why the Miami Heat are the defending NBA champs.
To Indiana's credit, they were not deflated when it came time to play game 4 of the series. The Pacers started the game out with a 11-0 run on the Heat that I believe put Miami on notice that the Pacers came to play game 4 despite the thrashing they received in game 3. The Indiana Pacers did not show up to just play but they wanted to send a message to Miami that we can beat you and that is how we are coming at you.
The Pacers made some key adjustments to James' post up dominance in game 3. They sent help and sometimes they faked help at James when he tried to post up. One of the differences from game 3 to 4 was that Wade, Bosh, Haslem nor the Miami bench were making the shots they made in game 3 nor was the the team aggression the same.
Lebron James scored 24 pts. 5 assist and 6 rebounds which was mere mortal stuff for him. This night Miami needed the super King James version to augment the lack of contributions from the team. Despite it all Miami was still in the game until the final minutes when Indiana went to another level making all the key plays. James hit a big three down the stretch but after that, James fouled out. No one else from Miami followed the Pacers into the game clenching next level. The Pacers closed out the Miami Heat tying the series 2-2.
According to NBA statistics the team that wins game five of a seven game NBA playoff series when the series is tied 2-2 will win the series 83 percent of the time. Statistics are never wrong? Not so fast I said 83 percent not a hundred. Do not bet the farm on either team in this series. The weather changes after each game.
As the NBA Eastern Conference Playoff “Sands of Time” blow hither tither either the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers need to halt the blowing winds and declare the wind stops here, then draw a line in the sand and declare, Eastern Conference, you belong to me and NBA title were coming for you next!