The Heat so far have achieved tying up the series with the Pacers during Game 2 at Indiana. That last win though was just by 4 points and the Heat clearly have to find a better way at terrorizing the Pacers. The answer however has already been discovered a long time ago. Here’s how the Heat can beat the Pacers.
Before we start, I want to say that there are 3 ways the Heat can beat the Pacers. These can be used all at the same time or even just one method may actually be effective already.
I. Remove the Pace in the Pacers
Let’s look at the point differential between Game 1 and Game 2. During Game 1, the Pacers won by 11 points against Miami which scored 96 points. The Pacers were able score a total of 107 points. Game 2 was a different story however. The Game 2 score was 87-83 where the Pacers scored 24 points less than their initial score in Game 1. What do these numbers mean?
This point differential shows that the Pacers were held down by the Heat defensively. The Pacers in Game 2 weren’t able to push the ball faster and reach their normal transition numbers. Assuming that the team has Lance Stephenson and Paul George, the Pacers shouldn’t have a difficult time pushing the ball. This means that the Heat were able to stop the Pacers successfully in terms of defense. Whatever they did, Erik Spoelstra has to find out so they can continue to execute this further into the series.
II. The Big 3 not the Big 2
Chris Bosh scored an average of 9.0 points with just a 38.1 FG% and rebounded an average of 4.0 boards. If the Heat want to do better against the Pacers, Chris Bosh has to step up and score more than just 10 points a game. With LeBron and Wade playing well, if Chris Bosh adds more production then the Heat will have no problem.
Also, let me get to how Chris Bosh can impact the series. We can take a lesson from how the Miracle Suns swept the Pacers during the regular season.
First off all, what is Ice defense? This is a defensive strategy commonly used for pick and rolls where the defender guarding the screener sags off into the lane to take away dribble penetration. The Pacers love using Ice defense. In fact it seemed like the right thing to do when they were up against the Suns during the regular season.
How did the Suns win though? The Suns were able to expose a flaw with the Ice defense by using Channing Frye as a screener and Goran Dragic as the ball handler. Channing Frye, for your information, is a big man that plays the “Stretch Forward.” This position is a hybrid of the conventional Power Forward. It is commonly designated for big men that can shoot 3’s. Goran Dragic is a point guard who is also arguably one of the best mid-range shooters and slashers in the game. When Dragic and Frye play the pick and roll, what normally happens with ice defense is that the person defending the screener would drift off the lane to help the one defending Dragic from popping for a mid-range shot or driving to the basket. This however leaves Frye open in the 3 point line allowing him to shoot a 3. The Pacers saw this problem as well and therefore, they had no choice but to abandon Ice and let the defender of the screener stay near the 3 point line to guard Frye. This left however Dragic with an opportunity this time to shoot the mid-range jumper or drive to the rim. The Suns therefore, were unstoppable at the pick and roll and the Pacers lost.
Now where does this work for the Heat? Frye would be the equivalent of Bosh who can shoot well enough (Though not as good as Frye) from the 3 point line. People would say that Bosh cannot shoot the three well if he’s defended but this is where the strategy works for the Heat. Roy Hibbert is a conventional center who is forced to stay in the paint and low post majority of the time so as to rebound the ball. By putting Bosh at center (creating a “Stretch Center”) instead of Power Forward, Hibbert will be forced to defend Bosh. When Bosh executes this play as the screener, he can be virtually unguarded from the 3 point line. If the Pacers adjust by changing the defenders and abandoning Ice, then they can use the Dragic part of the system. Dragic would be either Wade or LeBron who both arguably have even better abilities at shooting from the mid-range and driving to the rim. After Bosh sets the screen, Wade/LeBron can drive to the rim with their defender sagging from the screen and the screen defender focusing on defending the 3 point line. If the Heat place this into their offense, they have the ability to become even stronger offensively.
III. Outscore that Bench
The Pacers bench isn’t as good as the starters. That’s normal but not in the case of the Pacers.
The Bench of the Heat outscored the Bench of the Pacers 20-9. This made the starters of the Pacers have to produce more and all the more tire themselves. I guess that’s why the pace of the Pacers was slowed down. Of course the real reason for the victory was LeBron and Wade combining for 45 points but this may not be the same reason for future victories if the bench of the Pacers continue to be outscored like that. This wasn’t just the result of offense but also defense. The bench of the Heat did a good job at defending the opposing bench and when they play good defense, good things happen.
So that’s basically all the suggestions for the Heat. You can watch Game 3 tomorrow to see if the Defending Champs have it in them.