1. What did Game 4 mean for this series, if anything?
Ehsan – Game 4 meant that the Heat are not going to get a week off to rest up for the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Judging by the results of Game 1′s after some rest (the Heat dropped Game 1 against the Bulls and against the Pacers),that is not the worst thing that could happen. After Game 4, the NBA will be reviewing some plays from the game – as a result, the refs will be extra strict and look to make every correct call in Game 5.
Kris – Game 4 meant that Indiana is in this series for the long haul. This series could have easily been a sweep for the Heat, but the Pacers have found a way to fight and grind out two wins. Game 4 also put the Heat’s rebounding woes on a national stage, as they failed over and over again to grab the rebounds they needed.
DJ – It showed that the Pacers aren’t just going to give up. Game 3 was an absolutely horrendous outing by the Pacers, especially considering they entered that game with an undefeated playoff home record. After the Heat defeated Indiana by 18 points, many people were predicting Indiana’s demise. Well, here we are entering Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. The Pacers are very well alive, and like most matchups that consist of two evenly matched teams, the next few games are going to be dictated by which team can score in crunch time.
2. After some questionable calls in Game 4, what’s your reaction to the officiating in this series?
Ehsan – I personally have felt that George Hill and Lance Stephenson have gotten more preferential calls than Dwyane Wade in this series. Wade has been attacking and while he’s clearly not the same player at this point that he was earlier in his career, there has been some uncalled contact going against him. But for the most part, it has been ridiculously bad for both sides. The refs need to do a better job of letting the players decide the game and not trying to be the topic of discussion. Boy do I hope we don’t see Joey Crawford and his crew again (they refereed Game 4).
Kris – The officiating has been a joke. It’s a shame that the actual play between the two teams isn’t the most important storyline of a series. Questionable calls on both sides and an inordinate amount of fouls have almost ruined the series, in terms of the ability to enjoy the games. For example, 55 fouls were called in Game 4 – to put that into perspective a total of 65 field goals were made in Game 4. That many foul calls should not be happening.
DJ – It’s hot-and-cold. It always is. Depending upon which officiating crew, depending upon how the game is being called, every game is called differently. Bad calls have been made against both teams. The way that things are in the NBA (although it may not be fair), you have to play through the shoddy officiating. There are no alternatives.
3. Least favorite player in this series?
Ehsan – Chris Bosh. Yes, I picked a Heat player. Bosh has talked the talk about wanting to sacrifice for the good of the team and hindering Hibbert, but for the most part Bosh has not walked the talk. Three rebounds in Game 4 as the Heat’s primary big man is not going to cut it. Bosh has been severely outplayed by Hibbert in the series and that cannot happen if the Heat want to win the series.
Kris – I’m finding it almost impossible to choose between Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh here. Both guys have the ability to be a 20-30 point scorer and neither has yet to give the Pacers something to fear. Throw in Chris Bosh’s terrible rebounding, and these guys seem like a lock for least favorite/most disappointing.
DJ – Dwyane Wade. Most Heat fanatics won’t say it, but Wade has looked old in not only this series, but the playoffs as a whole. Yes, Wade has been dealing with nagging injuries, but for a guy who shot a career best from the field this season, it’s disappointing to have to see Lebron be Superman every night in order for the Heat to win games. Wade – or Bosh – have to step up a little to alleviate the pressure from the four-time MVP.
4. Outside of the Big Three, who is the Heat’s most valuable player?
Ehsan – Mario Chalmers. The Miami Heat had a six-point lead until Mario had to come out of the game with foul trouble (a common theme for Heat players in Game 4). He was the best player on the court for the Heat for much of Game 4. Rio was unafraid of driving on Hibbert and got to the free throw line a team-high 8 times. If Dwyane Wade is not going to be Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat will need Mario Chalmers to be Super Mario.
Kris – Night after night, I find myself cursing at the television when Mario Chalmers is involved in a play. But he has impressed me in this series. He seems to be the only member of the Heat who consistently attacks the rim and plays with aggression. His 20-point Game 4 helped keep the Heat in the game before things got away from them.
DJ – Chris Andersen. If Andersen can be effective offensively as he has been through the first few games of this series and can provide an intimidating presence in the paint, it will go a long way towards helping the Heat advance to the NBA Finals.
5. Give me a bold prediction for tonight’s game.
Ehsan – Chris Bosh decides to take an early morning read of the blogs around the internet (especially, his favorite blog, All U Can Heat). He reads how I call him out and delivers a huge game for the Heat, scoring 25 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. Bosh will be aggressive early in the game and cause Roy Hibbert to fall into foul trouble.
Kris – The Heat bench shows up tonight and contributes more than 30 points to the cause.
DJ – Heat win. It’ll come down to the wire, but it’s hard to imagine the Heat not winning on their home floor, with the best player in the world. Lebron won’t allow the Heat to trail in this series.