Seeing the Miami Heat lose has become such a rare sight that as soon as they drop a game many jump to conclusions. The Indiana Pacers did what they had to do and split the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals in Miami. Heck, they could very well be 2-0 up at this point. It’s been that close.
However, this is not a situation that the champions are unfamiliar with. Last year, then in the Conference Semifinals, the Heat also dropped game 2 to Indiana, and even went on to lose in game 3. Not only was Miami 2-1 down going into game 4, but they were missing Chris Bosh, who got injured in game 1.
Friday evening, the Pacers looked better than the Heat throughout the game. They were in control for most of the night and even had a double-digit lead. Miami managed to cut into the lead and held their fate in their own hands, but two late-game turnovers by LeBron James allowed the Pacers to close the game out.
There is no cause for panic for the situation the Heat are in, but there are some worrying trends. Disregarding the critical turnovers, James has been the one and only constant factor, not only in this series, but in all of the current postseason run.
Last year, it took a scoring outburst by Dwyane Wade and then another huge performance by LeBron for the Heat to close out Indiana, but this year is different. The Pacers are significantly better, while Wade is still not 100% healthy.
Chris Andersen came up big for the Heat in game 1, and moving forward, Miami will need someone else to contribute off the bench. In any given game, there has to be at least one player outside of the Big 3 that steps up and puts on a big game. Ray Allen is seemingly the logical candidate for the job, but he has not quite found his stroke lately.
Either way, adjustments will be made and from what we have seen in the first two contests, we can certainly expect every game in this series to come down to the last two minutes, with the outcome depending on late-game execution.
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