Pacers-Heat… What to Watch

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For all of you not lucky enough to get Fox Sports Indianapolis (or NBA League Pass), allow me to guide you through how the Pacers can beat Dwyane Wade and the Heat. It comes down to these four simple points:

First, the Pacers have to take care of the basketball. In Atlanta on Wednesday, the Pacers were careless with the ball, and turned it over 25 times. No one can win giving up that many possessions. Look for the magic number to be 16. If the Pacers turnover number is 16 or fewer, they’re going to be in this game.

Next, they have to hit the glass like they did in Atlanta. They out-rebounded the Hawks 40-35, led by Troy Murphy’s 10 and Roy Hibbert with 9. More impressive yet was their holding the Hawks to just 8 offensive rebounds. That same kind of intensity on the glass will be key, especially with Michael Beasley casting up 20 footers all night. 

Third, and most importantly, the Pacers have to keep the Heat out of the paint. While I don’t think Mario Chalmers, Jermaine O’Neal, Q-Rich or Beasley will attack the rim like Josh Smith or Joe Johnson, I think Mr. Wade will do it plenty. Which means that Brandon Rush and Dahntay Jones must do their job and keep Wade out of the paint (at least, as much as possible). I think that Rush will have the most success against Wade, because I think his length will bother Dwyane if we limit him to jump shots (yes, if).

Finally, we need to attack the rim like we did in Atlanta. At least in the first half. Even though T.J. Ford went a staggering 1-9 from the floor, most of those misses were

Pacers Hawks Basketball

Dahntay, no more jump shots for you.

(unbelievably) from right under the basket. I liked it that B.Rush attacked the rim on three different occasions (and traveled while trying to do it a fourth time). However, I we cannot (repeat: cannot) survive with the likes of Solomon Jones and Dahntay Jones shooting jumpers. Their shots should be layups and dunks, getting to the foul line. Leave the jumpers to Murphy, Granger and Watson (who looked great in game one, by the way).

 

Anyway… those four things happen, the Pacers will come out on top. If.

Also… I’m saying now that the Pacers will need at least 3 separate occasions per half where they come up with multiple defensive stops in a row. That means that the Heat do not score for two trips (at least) in a row. Must happen 6 times to win. (Quick tangent- 120 points is a ton of points to give up. I guess my over/under pick of 92.5 points allowed per game was WAY low…. if they keep the Heat under a hundo, they win).

 

Final call: Pacers 101, Heat 99

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