After wiping the floor with the New York Knicks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Miami Heat were thought to have little resistance in the Eastern Conference throughout the rest of the playoffs in order to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight season. As if the Heat’s road to the Finals wasn’t easy enough in most people’s opinions, the Chicago Bulls lost Derrick Rose due to torn ACL and were knocked out of the playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers.
With the Bulls gone and the Boston Celtics considered to breakdown in the later rounds like last year, Heat going the distance is a forgone conclusion. Unfortunately for Miami, that hasn’t been the case as they are facing a formidable opponent in the form of a motivated Indiana Pacers squad led by Danny Granger.
Once All-Star forward Chris Bosh went down with an abdominal strain that might keep him out of the rest of the playoffs, the Heat became vulnerable inside the paint with no answer for center Roy Hibbert or forward David West. That vulnerability of Miami was never clearer than during Game 3 in Indiana.
Most people wrote off the fact that the Heat would have to play without Bosh, but it has become a game-changer for the Pacers with Hibbert coming into his own in this series. With 19 points, 18 rebounds (game-high) and five blocks, Hibbert was a beast in Game 3 and the difference maker.
Along with Hibbert being virtually unstoppable in Game 3, All-Star guard Dwyane Wade struggled all night long going 2-for-13 from the floor for five points. Not only was Wade totally inefficient offensively, but he also had a game-high five turnovers. LeBron James tried to pick up the slack for Wade’s off-night, but finished with just 22 points on 10-of-22 shooting.
As a result of Wade’s off-night and LeBron failing to pick up the slack, the Heat lost a second straight game to the Pacers (94-75) and now face an uphill battle from here on out. Whether or not the Heat can bounce back remains to be seen, but Miami has definitely exposed a chink in their armor.
- Heat’s LeBron James Playing PF in Place of Chris Bosh Taking its Toll
- Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh Out Indefinitely With Abdominal Strain
- Lakers lose three straight with loss to Pacers in Los Angeles
- NBA Playoffs: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Game 4
- Eastern Conference Playoffs Preview: Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers
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