Yesterday we heard how the Miami Heat were thankful for the three day gap between Game 2 and Game 3 so that they could prepare for the Indiana Pacers and be ready to take a 2-1 series lead. But while the Heat have had time to build on their first win of the Conference Finals, the Pacers have had time to plan adjustments and become better suited to handle the Miami attack.
As Ira Winderman muses in his ‘Ask Ira’ column, the Pacers may benefit a little bit more from this three day break than the Heat will.
It proved to be a huge break for the Pacers. Considering the way the Pacers bungled George’s concussion diagnosis Tuesday, it would have been more than a bit surprising if the NBA had cleared George for a Thursday game, considering he was limited to non-contact work Thursday. Plus, with the Heat changing lineups before Game 2, it gave the Pacers more time to go to school on how to address matchups with Udonis Haslem, as well as strategize forNorris Cole again defending Lance Stephenson for an extended stretch.
Winderman isn’t wrong in his assessment of the situation as the Pacers have the tools to keep up with the Heat for most of the game but just need to figure out how to better capture a closing burst. They nearly let the Heat back into Game 1 and they couldn’t muster up any sort of comeback burst in Game 2.
These three days will prove to be critical for the Pacers, as if they come out flat int he fourth quarter again in Game 3, then there may be no helping their chances moving forward.