What’s the Temp? Warm and Rising After 87-83 Game 2 Win Over Pacers


For the remainder of the postseason, after every game writer Jimmy Cook will give his thoughts on how hot or cold the Heat currently are. These stages range from White Hot (everything is legendary) to Ice Cold (we’ve got serious issues in South Beach). So, without further ado, the debut of JCook’s “What’s the Temp?”

 

Current Temperature: WARM and RISING

After a defensive no-show in their 107-96 Game 1 loss to the Pacers the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat knew the importance of capturing Game 2 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse before the series would shift to South Beach.

  One thing the Heat might not have realized going into Game 2, was that history was on their  side.

I know what you’re thinking and YES, that’s an active streak that started the first year Bosh, James, and Wade joined forces in Miami. FOUR YEARS and they had never lost the first two games of a series.

May 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) rests on the bench in a game against the Indiana Pacers in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, if that streak was going to continue, LeBron and Co. were going to have to play 100x stronger. LeBron knew it heading into Game 2. “We want to perform better in Game 2 than we did in Game 1 – we’re looking forward to that opportunity. We’ve corrected our mistakes and we have a clear mind on what we need to do tonight,” said James.

 

 

“We want to perform better in Game 2 than we did in Game 1 – we’re looking forward to that opportunity. We’ve corrected our mistakes and we have a clear mind on what we need to do tonight.”-LeBron James

 

 

And by God they kept their promises.

Sure it was a slow start…but the end result? Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It was like Christmas Morning. The defense was making rotations quick and smoothly, recognizing pick and rolls, hustling for 50/50 balls, and providing help at the proper time.

May 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signals a play against the Indiana Pacers during game two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Miami defeats Indiana 87-83. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This was the efficient, fine tuned, defensive machine we had all hoped would show up in the playoffs, and finally it did just that.

However, tonight the fearless leader wasn’t Chris Bosh or Dwayne Wade or even LeBron…no it was the captain of calm, the master of motivation, the one and only SPO!
Look at him, just look at him! He’s so in the zone he’s practically out on the floor playing defense with his players! That’s how it was from the get go, and while some Pacers fans may have wanted a technical, the point is Coach Spo guided this team on both sides of the ball on almost every possession from the opening tip to the final horn.

This tactic, along with two lineup decisions down the solidified a two thumbs way up for Spo:

To preface move Number 1, I’d like to introduce the thorn in my side on this Indiana Pacers roster. The Pacer that stands above all other Pacers as the one I can’t stand.

I respect his athleticism, his raw talent, his energy, his started-from-the-bottom-now-we-here-mentality, and his fearlessness…but he’s a…well to put it in professional terms, he’s a handful.

Any guesses? Anyone? Any Pacer that comes to mind? Nobody? Okay.

That’s right, it’s the Dancing Lance Stephenson.

He’s the type of player where if he wasn’t on your team, you’d hate him because he drives you nuts, but because he’s on your team you love him (like Joakim Noah or our very own Birdman…no offense Birdzilla, you the man).

Despite all that hatred, the self-proclaimed Born Ready put on a show in Game 2.

But then, Spo move number one came into play…leaving THE PRIDE OF CLEVELAND STATE Norris Cole on Stephenson for the final stretches of the game.

The end result?

Okay so Cole didn’t cause that particular play but that was the end result. He kept Stephenson in check when he looked almost unstoppable, especially on pick and rolls which were a catalyst for the Heat in Game 1.

May 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers pass to against Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen (11) during the second half of game two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87 to 83. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

In addition, the extend play of the Birdman/Birdzilla Chris Andersen proved to be a difference maker. Though he only had 3 points, he collected a team high 12 boards, and banged with Roy Hibbert down low forcing the Big Dog outside of the paint just like UD does.

These two decisions are how Spo and the bench turned up the Heat in Game 2.

However, the nail in the coffin came in the form of a duo we’ve missed seeing in dominant form.

In fact, a few of us on staff were waiting for Batman and Robin to start protecting the streets of Gotham again.

Of course we would all come to our senses eventually… 

The end result? The Dynamic Duo of Bron and DWade combined for 22 points in the fourth quarter, which, when added together, gave them both 22 and 23 points respectively for the contest. It was beautiful, simply beautiful.

This collective effort by the Heat is why the image that began this article has the White Hot Logo above Game 6, because the hope is that Miami can capture the series 4-2 in the friendly confides of AmericanAirlines Arena, and advance to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year, with the dream of a Trey by the Bay very much alive. That, however, is only a hope. Nothing is guaranteed, and the Indiana Pacers can easily steal home court back in South Beach. In fact, each of the last 2 postseasons the Pacers have captured a victory in the first set in Miami. So nothing is guaranteed and this win doesn’t eliminate Indiana. Only 4 wins can do that. 1 down, three to go…but they’ve got to take it one game at a time.

Maintaining Focus, Understanding Objectives, Remaining Hungry.

 

Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left), LeBron James (center) and Chris Bosh (right) celebrate after game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Miami defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win the NBA Championship. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

That’s the mentality of a champion.

 

 

Tags: Chris Andersen Chris Bosh Dwayne Wade Feature Indiana Pacers Lebron James Miami Heat Norris Cole