What happened to the Pacers? Did they miss the memo about having to play in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals game on June 3? Granted, the Pacers played a semi-descent first half but quickly reverted back to their normal routine when playing on the road by committing costly turnovers and not matching the intensity of the opposing team.
I have to give credit where credit is due because Dwyane Wade and Lebron James came to play ball. Both players knew a trip back to the NBA Finals was at stake and they welcomed the challenge just as they have throughout their careers. In all actuality, the Pacers have not been a great team when playing from behind; they failed to find a consistent flow during the game and Roy Hibbert’s early foul trouble in the first half really set the team back from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Pacers guard Lance Stephenson played ineffective throughout the entire game and when he struggles the Pacers usually have problems pushing the tempo.
Miami’s strategy of attacking Hibbert at the basket really paid off this game. The referees really called some questionable calls against the Pacers which hurt their offensive rhythm in-return led to more turnovers and fast-break opportunities for the Heat. Coming into this game I predicted a close ending, but I remembered how boring and less profitable it would be for the NBA if the Pacers advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Spurs which meant arguably this game was decided before it began. Two non-popular teams playing in 2013 NBA finals wouldn’t benefit the league and it sponsors would it?
Conspiracy theories aside, the Miami Heat devised an offensive plan and executed that plan to perfection and that is the underlying reason why they are heading back to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season. As usual, Chris Bosh was a virtual no-show, but he will have a better opportunity to shine during the Finals because the Spurs lack a physically dominant center; but what the Spurs lack in size, they make up for in speed and outside shooting.
The San Antonio Spurs have one of the best benches and coaches in the NBA. One thing is for sure, this NBA Finals will go down as one of the best ever. Stay tuned for my Spurs versus Heat NBA Finals preview/prediction.