It was an eventful lead-up to the second round as some interesting events unfolded.
First of all, LeBron James was awarded (deservedly) his third MVP. Those who have followed this blog all year know that he had my vote and he really is the main cog to the this team, without a doubt.
“I see my two sons, I do what I do and I try to perform at the highest level every night, and a big part of the reason is those guys,” James said. “I don’t want to let them down. Secondly, my teammates, like I said. The reason I’m up here today is because of those guys. If those guys don’t sacrifice what they sacrifice every single night … I wouldn’t be up here.”
The second interesting issue to come between the series’ is the Pacers’ coach Frank Vogul accusing the Heat of being the biggest floppers in the league.
“They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA,” Vogel said. “It will be very interesting to see how the referees officiate this series and how much flopping they reward.
“Every time you drive to the basket, they’ve got guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers, often times they’re falling down before contact is even made. It’ll be very interesting to see how this series is officiated.”
This is some nonsense as it’s obviously clear that it is the Clippers that are Flop-city with Blake Griffin leading the way. The Heat have traditionally played the charge to perfection.
“I could care less,” Spoelstra said of Vogel making flopping a series talking point. “We could care less.”
Well, game 1 came and it was mostly a feeling out affair. The Pacers played with the lead for the first three quarters as both teams tried different approaches and got to know each other better.
Bosh was getting a ton of touches in the first half, more than he is used to seeing and unfortunately Bosh went down in the third quarter with an injury to his abdominal muscle. Unfortunate for the Heat, who will need Bosh’s consistent jumpshot as the difficulty in this series will ramp up starting Game 2, where the Pacers will try hard to steal home court.
Not to kick him when he is down but Bosh’s conditioning has been down and is probably the major factor in his inconsistency this year. A recommitment to health this summer will do wonders for his game as he will not have the wedding and baby distractions in his way. All good distractions to have, by the way.
So the second half came and Miami was hanging around, the threes were not falling, and after losing Bosh DWade starting pushing his tired ass harder and all of a sudden Bron started making some plays and DWade started setting up Bron and it was back-and-forth magic as Bron and Wade pushed Miami’s offense to productive efficiency. The 2 superstars took over the game.
There were great contributions from Joel Anthony, who made excellent finishes around the rim, and Mike Miller contributed some timely offensive rebounding. Turiaf and Haslem provided some toughness inside.
Now, like I said earlier… the Pacers know the drill. They don’t mind losing this first game and analyzing the film. They will come @ Miami twice as hard next game in an attempt to steal the series. Miami must recover physically and mentally and play even better if they want to protect home court. Chalmers, Battier and Miller need to step up and hit some more shots as well as provide the excellent D and intangibles.
The way Wade has performed this year it will be tough for him to keep this type of production up, but if he can maintain and stay healthy Miami will survive the loss of Bosh for the time being.