Miami Meltdown: Tempers Flare As Pacers Hammer Heat

In an emotionally-charged game, the Indiana Pacers throttled the Miami Heat in the second half to take a 2-1 series lead with a 94-75 win.

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NBA Playoffs: If Miami Heat Can't Beat Pacers, Will Pat Riley Abandon Superstar Experiment?

The Miami Heat were throttled by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, effectively putting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of South Beach's finest in danger of an early exit in the NBA Playoffs. That certainly wasn't the plan when the team was being put together by Pat Riley and -- even with the Chris Bosh injury -- it's an embarrassing look for the Heat.

That has led to a lot of doom and gloom from fans of the Heat, as one might expect. In fact, the experts over at SB Nation's Peninsula is Mightier have taken it one step further, opining that it might be time to try and blow up the Big Three if LeBron and D-Wade are unable to advance past the Pacers.

The Heat now find themselves on the ropes, and James and Wade will have to shoulder plenty of the burden. Both of those players need to have monster games to win. Chris Bosh is injured. Mike Miller was the Sixth Man of the Year six years ago, but he won't turn into that player anytime soon. Haslem's rapid regression as a player has him conjuring up memories to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who couldn't make a jumper or even jump in the playoffs last year. Battier can barely graze the rim on his wide-open 3-point attempts now.

The pressure will be on James and Wade. If they don't pull the Heat back from the ropes, Pat Riley could break up this team and scrap this experiment.

That would seem to be a bit of a rash idea, but considering the supposed-to-be-unstoppable Heat just underwent a 19-point drubbing, it's probably a reaction that isn't all that rare among the Miami fans heading into the weekend.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Pacers are a model of how to win without a true superstar -- let alone three of them. Roy Hibbert may be on his way to becoming one of the NBA's elite, though, as our friends over at Indy Cornrows were extremely impressed with the center's performance in Thursday night's victory.

Roy Hibbert finally broke through tonight, piecing together his finest postseason game, one of his finest period (if not his greatest given the stage). Roy finished with 19 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocks, pedestrian in the block category, sure, but Hibbert inched close to a 20-20 night and the power in which he played, for him to finally figure out the Heat defenders in a way that he can be successful? That could make games moving forward very fun for Big Roy, who made Eric Spoelstra's decision to start Dexter Pittman look as inane as it appeared and proceeded to beat up on the outmatched Miami front line.

It'll be interesting to see if Hibbert can continue to beat the Heat and advance to the next round because if that happens, there will be quite a few more questions than answers coming out of the series.

For more on the Pacers, head over to Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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When Dwyane Wade Lost His Cool

Dwyane Wade had the worst playoff game of his career in Game 3 against the Pacers, and the Heat stumbled to their second-straight playoff loss without Chris Bosh. But that's only part of where things have gone wrong.

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Pacers Vs. Heat, 2012 NBA Playoffs Game 3 Final Score: Indiana Rolls, 94-75, Takes 2-1 Series Lead

Heading into the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Miami Heat looked like heavy favorites not just to beat the Indiana Pacers, but to sweep through the Eastern Conference in the 2012 NBA Playoffs en route to their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance. But after an injury to Chris Bosh and two straight clunkers by Dwyane Wade, including his 2-for-13, five-point, five-turnover night in a 94-75 loss in Thursday night's Game 3, the Heat look like a team about to thud to Earth.

Roy Hibbert took full advantage of Miami's Bosh-free frontcourt and decimated the Heat, scoring 19 points and pulling down a career-high 18 rebounds. He also had five blocks, and anchored an Indiana attack that got four players (Hibbert, Danny Granger, George Hill and David West) in double figures and built a lead that stretched to 21 points late in the fourth quarter, inspiring Erik Spoelstra to empty his bench and admit defeat with just under three minutes to go.

2012 NBA MVP LeBron James, the only member of Miami's fearsome triad that had even a decent night, still needed 22 shots to get his 22 points, and had just three assists. And the only Heat player who had a good game? Mario Chalmers, who had 25 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

If he's the Heat's best player in Sunday's Game 4, the Heat may be playing with their backs to the wall in Miami for Game 5.

For more on the Pacers, head over to Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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Dahntay Jones Might Be Doing The Dice Thing Too Much

Dahntay Jones's celebrations have been pretty great today. First, we had this. And now, for round two.

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"Dude, I think he's doing the dice thing too much"
"That's really all he's got"

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2012 NBA Playoffs, Heat Vs. Pacers Game 3 Halftime Score: Teams Tied, Dwyane Wade Scoreless

The Miami Heat were the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade Show in Miami for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals Series after losing Chris Bosh to an abdominal strain. In Game 3, LeBron's taken the starring role, Wade has faded into the background and the Heat and Pacers are playing each other even, going to halftime tied at 43-43.

James has 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the first half, and has had to make up for Wade's goose egg: The former NBA Finals MVP was scoreless in the first 24 minutes of a playoff game for just the third time in his career. But the Heat's bench has stepped up, getting 14 points so far, and Mario Chalmers' 15 points have been a big boost.

LeBron also threw down with his customary ferocity in the final minute of the first half.

Indiana started strong with Dexter Pittman struggling down low, then fell behind as the Heat's offense clicked in the first quarter. In the second, the Pacers got back in it, and Roy Hibbert's 12 points and George Hill's nine helped them do it.

For more on the Pacers, head over to Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. For more on the Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay.

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