I’m assuming that mission was to hustle the Pacers into making them think they’d have a shot at beating the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals or Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, but I know that’s not the case.
This is a game that saw the Heat sleepwalk through the second and third quarters while getting stung by the same things that seem to undo the Heat: getting dominated on the boards, falling completely asleep on defense, turnovers, and falling into the trap of playing isolation ball.
That just about sums up why the Heat lose this game. So what grades does each individual player get?
Well, let’s take a look as I revive my favorite Dolphins gimmick and apply it towards the Heat, thus become the 3,215th hack writer to grade the Miami Heat from game-to-game.
LeBron James — B+
Often, LeBron James is the only player on the Heat to show up.
That’s exactly what happened on Friday Night, as LeBron contributed 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting along with six boards and three assists. The only issue is his three turnovers, which is still four less than his last trip to Indiana.
The numbers are only a decent (and borderline bad) game for LeBron, but any other player would kill to get these numbers just once.
I’d kill for Chris Bosh to grab six rebounds for Zo’s sake!
Just one LeBron-related question: is Erik Spoelstra saving the strategy of having LeBron cover David West for the post-season?
Dwyane Wade — C
Wade was fairly weak in this contest—which is a pattern that you will see correlates to the Heat losing the ballgame.
Wade would finish with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists on 7-of-16 shooting. Not terrible, but you expect more from Wade.
Chris Bosh — F
When is Bosh going to man up? He needs to be more assertive, he needs to get more physically involved. He can’t continue to pass up open shots, he can’t continue to allow guys to out-muscle him on the boards, he can’t continue to put up games where he has 13 points (on 5-of-11 shooting), and two rebounds (once again, he’s a power forward and center).
In two games against the Pacers, Bosh has been as effective as he was in games 2-6 of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup.
Udonis Haslem — F
Four points, three rebounds. Haslem’s biggest impact against the Pacers last year was he was able to match the Pacers physically in the low-post. This year? That just doesn’t seem to be there.
Mario Chalmers —C
Chalmers only had 21 minutes against Indiana, and managed to score seven points while tossing out four assists. That’s the good part of Chalmers.
The bad part: all of those points were scored in the third quarter, and he did get caught up with two very bad fouls during the game.
Chris Andersen — A
Nine points on 4-of-4 shooting (and making his lone free throw), along with three boards, one block and one assist in 12 minutes of action.
Andersen’s minutes WILL go up as the season continues, and it wouldn’t surprise me if by playoff time he’s actually in the starting lineup ahead of Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem (assuming he gets into Miami Heat-shape). He can actually make a difference on this team, and might be able to take some of the low post pressure off of Bosh.
Bench — D-
It’s a D- and not an F due to the play of Chris Andersen (who got his own paragraph), and Shane Battier.
Birdman and Battier accounted for all 20 of the Heat’s bench points and five of their rebounds. Combined the rest of the bench (which remember contains sharpshooters like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis along with a driver in Norris Cole) provided the Heat with no points, three rebounds, five assists (all by Allen) and three steals (again, all by Allen) on 0-of-4 shooting (all shots attempted by Allen).
Very poor performance by a bench that seems to only show up when they want to. The good news is last season proved that they usually want to show up in the post-season. The bad news: that was last season.
Erik Spoelstra — F
How does he not figure out how to beat the Pacers? How does he not figure out how to put his team in the best position to win (note to Spoelstra: just saying “give the ball to Wade or LeBron” is not how you do that)? Very poor coaching effort from Spoelstra, who only did one thing right by getting T’d up after complaining to the officials (and they did deserve it, it was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve seen this season).
Overall Grade — F
The score 102-89 should be enough to justify the F, and I did just spend 800 words explaining this grade by shredding up this team.
The fact is the Pacers are a team that the Heat should be able to take care of in the playoffs. However with one game left against Indiana during the regular season, they can not afford to have one more effort against this team, no matter when and where they may play them.
These two games against the Pacers were not only lost because the Pacers out-played the Heat (they did), but because the Heat just seemed listless. It seems sad but unless there’s a real carrot at the end of the stick, Miami fails to show up on the road (maybe someone should’ve coaxed Lance Stephenson to open his mouth like Reggie Evans). This has to change soon, because while it doesn’t matter in the playoffs, it does help seeding, and you’d rather play a Game 7 at home than on the road.
Thomas Galicia is a co-editor at AllUCanHeat.com and a Miami Dolphins and NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow him on twitter, @thomasgalicia.