Chris Bosh put a consensual hush over the American Airlines Arena comparable to the silence following their game 6 loss in the Finals to Dallas last year, as he fell to his knees, unable to stand following an awkward knock from Roy Hibbert, forcing the third member of Miami’s Big 3 to be helped from the court and adding to the high profile casualty ward that has swept the NBA this season.
Bosh had been arguably the Heat’s best player until he converted a powerful and one dunk past Roy Hibbert, but had his right arm pulled in an odd motion which apparently caused an abdominal strain, leaving the All Star forward unable to continue.
Wade told Bosh not to worry, saying “we got this” as him and newly crowned three time MVP LeBron James went on a 2 man tear as they brought the Heat back from a sizeable disadvantage to overpower the Pacers in the second half.
Wade and James both added 10 points in the third quarter and combined for 26 in the fourth, of which James had 16, which lifted Miami to a 1-0 series lead.
Wade finished with 29 points including 13/14 from the stripe, but arguably the biggest play of his game was a chase-down block on a Paul George fast break which ignited the Heat early in the fourth quarter.
James led all scorers with 32 points, led all players with 15 rebounds and added 5 assists and 2 steals. His 16 in the fourth perhaps eclipsed by his emphasis to replace Chris Bosh as Miami’s chief rebounder, snatching down 15 key possessions. It was a classic James performance as he dominated the game wholly on both ends and contributed just as much if not more with the less attractive statistics.
Defense was the name of the game and Indiana came out with a lot of purpose early, running the break and attempting to beat Miami at their own game. The superior length of Hibbert and David West gave the Heat problems early, as it seemed Miami placed the emphasis on stopping the outside scorers rather than the big men. They were hugely successful in doing so.
James held Danny Granger to just 7 points on 1/10 shooting, Wade ensured George was a non factor as the sophomore finished with just 6 points and the rotation of Heat guard/forwards applied aggressive pressure to Hill, Barbosa and Collison, forcing the Pacers point guard trio into a one dimensional offensive game.
The 10 man rotation Indiana boasts was supposed to be it’s greatest advantage over the much highly favoured Miami side, but it was the Heat’s substitutes that made the greater impact through contributions from Shane Battier, Ronny Turiaf and a career performance from Joel Anthony. Anthony, outside of Wade and James, was Miami’s best and most crucial player, converting all 4 of his field goals and pulling down 7 rebounds in just 24 minutes. His defensive and rebounding presence won’t show up on the box score, but it cannot be underestimated. He was a huge reason Miami won this game.
Both teams shot a fairly miserable 40% from the field, Miami failed to hit a three pointer, but in a game that seemed deadly even on the box score, it required a superstar to pull through and take the win.
Miami had two.
Tags: Chris Bosh Danny Granger Darren Collison David West Dwyane Wade George Hill Indiana Pacers Joel Anthony Leandro Barbosa Lebron James Miami Heat NBA NBA Playoffs Paul George Playoffs Ronny Turiaf Roy Hibbert Shane Battier