The Miami Heat took a 2-1 lead over the Indiana Pacers with a dominating Game 3 win 114-96. The Heat took a big lead early and aside from a run or two from the Pacers, never seemed to be in danger of letting this game get competitive.
If you are the Pacers you can look at it one of two ways. One is that the Heat got contributions from players they normally wouldn’t like Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers and this game was more of a fluke than anything else. The other perspective is that the defense that they are known for let them down. I think it’s a mixture of both and doubt the Heat will get another game out of Haslem and Chalmers like the one they got today.
Haslem took nine shots and only missed one and finished with 17 points. Chalmers on the other hand got to the free throw line seven times and finished with a solid 14 points. You’re not going to beat the Heat when they get games like this out of role players.
The Pacers defense really took a step back in Game 3, allowing the Heat to attack the lane almost at will. They can’t ask Paul George to cover the stronger LeBron James in the post without sending help. The few times they tried to send Hibbert, no one rotated over to cover his man, allowing for easy shots and offensive rebounds. This is a problem that the Pacers are going to have to clean up by Game 4 if they want to put themselves in position to win.
I’m not too concerned about the Pacers on offense. Yes, they only shot 39% but I do feel like they had plenty of decent looks. Plus, the Pacers have never been a juggernaut offensively. They’re going to need more from Paul George, although saying they need the Game 2 version of George is unrealistic because he’s just not the kind of player that can play at that high level all the time yet.
The Pacers will also need Hibbert to be a little more efficient after he finished just 4-12 from the field. I sound like a broken record when I say this but the Pacers are going to have to find some kind of production from the bench after tallying only 16 points in Game 3.
The Pacers can’t get too down after the Game 3 loss, just like they shouldn’t have gotten too high after winning Game 2. Even though the Heat look like the team in control of the series, the Pacers have to remember it was just one game and they could easily be up 2-1 themselves if a couple of things went their way in Game 1.