Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Preview for Game 3: The Miami Heat (1-1) At The Indiana Pacers (1-1)

I’ll be honest, I thought the Miami Heat would be leading the Indiana Pacers 2-0 at this point in the series.  Instead, the Miami Heat split its two home games with the Pacers, and the Heat probably must win one (if not more) of the next two games in Indiana.

The scariest thing for the Miami Heat is not the added pressure of having lost a home playoff game in the Eastern Conference Finals, but that the Heat could so be down 0-2 right now.  A couple plays here and there (such as a LeBron layup) and the Miami Heat could have been down 0-2 — or the Heat could have been up 2-0.  In fact, it was a couple terrible plays from LeBron James at the end of Game 2 that cost the Miami Heat a 2-0 series lead.

So the big takeaway from the series so far is that every game is going to be close and come down to the wire, so whichever team can execute their late-game possessions the best (and prevent their opponent from executing their late-game possessions) will end up winning the game.

So far the Miami Heat have had lukewarm success executing their late-game possessions — while their have been some highlights, like LeBron’s game-winning layup, there have also been some low-lights, like LeBron’s two turnovers.  In addition, Miami has done everything it can to help the Indiana Pacers stay in these first two games including Norris Cole’s turnover in Game 1, which led to Paul George’s desperation three to tie the game (a shot that LeBron James could’ve, but didn’t, close out on), Dwyane Wade’s foul on a Paul George three at the end of overtime in Game 1 (which put the Pacers up by one), and of course….LeBron’s (and Miami’s) offensive collapse in the last three minutes of Game 2.

I’ve been talking a lot about LeBron — and he deserves a lot of the credit and the heat (pun completely intended) for Miami’s success –but he hasn’t gotten any help at all from the bench.  Ray Allen has 10 points in this series (TYLER HANSBROUGH HAS 10 POINTS IN THIS SERIES) is shooting 3-for-13 from the field and is shooting 50% from the free throw line.  Ray Allen is shooting 50% from the free throw line.

It’s like the apocalypse is already happening and I don’t know it.

Shane Battier is currently 0-for-7, Norris Cole is 2-for-10, and Udonis Haslem is 1-for-7.  The only Heat bench player that is playing well is Chris Andersen, who is an absurd 9-for-9 — but the Birdman has only played 32 minutes in this series.

All these problems, the late game execution, the terrible performance from the bench — all this needs to change for the Heat, and it needs to change now.

Because if it doesn’t, the Heat will find that they’ll no longer be tied in this series, they’ll be losing it.

Tags: Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 Indiana Pacers Miami Heat NBA NBA Playoffs

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