In past interviews, when the HEAT were asked about motivations for this season, there was mention of getting back to the “dark-place” in everyone’s mind that resulted from the crushing 2011 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s Finals. To never forget those moments, that place they all lived in after the fallout, keeping it as a constant reminder during the grind of this season and quest for the title.
94-75 loss game 3 to the Pacers. 2nd Playoff loss in a row. No Chris Bosh (at least for the relative future). You don’t need a Garmin to tell you, the HEAT Bus has arrived at the desired location, in front of the Darkness Estate, which lies inside the Abyss development, on Pitch-Dark Lane, in Dismal, Indiana.
First quarter went off like a gunshot Thursday Night, Pacers lit up a 7-0 run before the HEAT began their stride, ending the quarter on a 26-10 run and up 9 at the end of the period.
What began with a gunshot, ended with a total misfire by the HEAT. It was the type of misfire that produces only a small white flag from the end of the gun with the letters “Bang!” on it rather than a bullet. Like a cartoon, but not nearly as funny. The small white flag for the HEAT was their lack of consistent offensive production, one-step behind on defensive rotations to the perimeter, non-aggressive play…well, the full menu when you’re talking the HEAT and a 19 point loss in the Playoffs. The Pacers won this one outright with their best game of the series, and the HEAT team has found the dark, nasty abyss they’ve been searching for.
On that note-HEAT fans stay away from the ledge. While this is proving to be the “worst of times” of Shakespeare’s imagination if he were a HEAT fan, there was some good that came from last night if not the final result. Here’s what went right for the HEAT:
1. Mario Chalmers-10-15 from the field, 4-4 from the line, 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 0 Turnovers, 25 Points to Lead the HEAT on offense. After Game 2′s 5 point/3 rebound yech-performance, he certainly got the memo about stepping up and helping the team. He is the proverbial punching-bag to the Big 2, getting reamed-out by Wade/LeBron when he messes up publicly, but game 3 was proof to how much his overall production and effort has improved year-over-year. He was OUTSTANDING on all sides of the ball, the best performer on the floor for the HEAT at any given time. Hopefully, he returned the favor to Wade in the locker room post-game with some words of his own, which would be quite-deserving given HIS play for the night.
2. HEAT Bench: Outscored Indiana 23-15, Mike Miller got his stroke back (when he could find a shot) with 2-3 from 3 point range; Rony Touriaf and Joel Anthony combined for 15 Points 9 rebounds.
3. Points in the Paint/Defense: Despite Roy Hibbert’s 19 point 18 rebound performance for Indiana, the HEAT actually outscored the Pacers in the paint 38-32, and defensively held the Pacers to low-40% scoring for the night.
That’s about as far as one can go trying to paint a rainbow with a can of pea-soup, however. For each of the above good things that happened there were at least 3 bad’s, which can be delved into with great detail by the rest of the media and other outlets over the coming days. The HEAT will take their own beating today, especially Dwyane Wade for his inept scoring (dismal-won’t even speak the stats), the scuffle on the HEAT sidelines, and LeBron James for minimal free-throw visits (1-3 from the line in 40 minutes, but that could be the officiating too-hope I won’t get fined by the NBA for mentioning). Bottom-line, they have a lot to figure out before Sunday.
In the meantime, there is hope. Hope, that despite the past two games-the HEAT have seen the Pacer’s best effort-everything there was to fear has been seen first-person. Their best game was played Thursday Night-and it wasn’t all that great. After all, it’s still just the Pacers. They are beatable, the HEAT are the better team with a 3 time MVP in tow, time to prove it Sunday in game 4.