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Dwyane Wade is apparently dealing with knee and leg soreness, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN. Wade had one of the worst playoff performances of his career on Thursday night in Game 3 against the Pacers, committing as many turnovers (5) as he scored points. But Wallace reports that Wade required treatment to deal with lingering leg issues that have continued to bother him during the Heat's Eastern Conference Semifinal series. Wade missed 17 games with an assortment of injuries this condensed season. After the woeful Game 3 performance, he was asked if injuries affected his play, and responded briefly:
"At this point of the season, no one is 100 percent," Wade said when asked after Thursday's loss whether he was affected by an injury.
His 2 of 13 performance included a heated exchange with coach Erik Spoelstra, with frustration getting the better of the All-Star repeatedly throughout the series against the Pacers. Whether the injury is affecting his play or not, the Heat will need Wade to dramatically improve his performance in Game 4 if they want to avoid a two-game hole and the brink of elimination.
The Miami Heat certainly had some issues to iron out following Thursday night's loss to the Indiana Pacers, considering they were defeated 94-75 in Game 3 of the potential seven-game series. In that regard, it made sense when the following email -- regarding a Shane Battier conference call to speak about a charity golf event -- arrived in the inbox of your's truly on Friday morning.
The Shane Battier/American Century Championship media conference call for today has been postponed.
Coach Spoelstra called a practice for today at that time. We will let you know when it is rescheduled.
Following that loss, it was no surprise that head coach Erik Spoelstra would decide to hold an impromptu practice session to get everyone's ducks in a row before Miami falls behind by another game to the underdog Pacers.
Shortly thereafter, however, contrary words spread like wildfire on Twitter regarding Miami's Friday practice schedule.
The Heat just announced that they've canceled today's practice at the last minute. Hmm.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 18, 2012
Heat has canceled practice and will not meet with the media today. Um...— Joseph Goodman (@MiamiHeraldHeat) May 18, 2012
It makes sense that the Heat would rather not meet with the media following that loss -- and the questions they'd be asked regarding Dwyane Wade's meltdown and sideline spat with Spoelstra -- but it's awfully random that the team would randomly schedule -- and then cancel-- a practice within just a few hours on a Friday morning.
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.
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.
The major storylines will all focus on Dwyane Wade’s tirade, but here are a couple trends to watch for Game 4:
1. Roy Hibbert stopped posting up and started doing more damage in the high post. Instead of trying to force feed Hibbert the ball against Miami’s aggressive double teams, the Pacers involved Hibbert in side pick and rolls and had him pop to the elbow. This opened up the floor and allowed them to find a pressure release when the Heat inevitably trapped those plays. Hibbert also was able to take advantage of the Heat’s pressure by attacking the offensive glass. With Miami still scrambling from trapping the ball, Hibbert was able to get some offensive rebounds.
2. At some point, the Heat are going to hit some threes. Even as the game was slipping away, they had plenty of makeable looks that just didn’t go down. There will be a game where they will. That’s the major reason why this series is far from over.
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.
As usual, Larry Bird just can't contain himself.
"Dude, I think he's doing the dice thing too much"
"That's really all he's got"
It’s a good question, and I’m not entirely sure of the answer. The Heat went away from the high pick and roll game that worked for LeBron James in the first half, perhaps in an attempt to get Dwyane Wade going. Perhaps James could have demanded to have the ball in those spots, but with Wade already yelling at Erik Spoelstra, I can understand James’s desire to not want to make things worse.
In any event, I don’t think James can be blamed too much for what happened in this game.
Roy Hibbert really isn’t doing anything fancy, and that’s why he has 16 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. The Pacers aren’t running anything special for him, but he’s moving, getting inside position on the glass and finding points for himself. This is how he has to succeed as long as Miami’s aggressive fronting of the post continues.
Great, great sign for the Pacers.
I have a feeling that the Erik Spoelstra wing flopping motion is going to be meme’d a lot over the next few days. Internet, start your engines.
If I told you a Heat player not named LeBron James had 23 points on 12 shots with four assists, how many guesses would it take for you to say Mario Chalmers? One? Two? More?
The Heat forward is now 0-6 from three-point range in this game and 1-9 in the series. This is what happens when Chris Bosh gets hurt and Battier has to bang with David West in the post.
Danny Granger must really hate LeBron James. The Indiana Pacers' star got tangled up with James late in Game 1, and now, he has again in Game 3. This time, though, Granger seemed to be the only one that really wanted to get involved in the shouting match.
This altercation began when James stole the ball from Granger. Granger grabbed James's jersey as James was going to retrieve the ball -- an easy foul. Then, James stuck his elbow out, and Granger took exception, flying right back into James's face to yell at him before the referee drove Granger back 15 feet.
Was James intentionally trying to elbow Granger? He very well could have. Was this the absolute wrong time for Granger to get upset like this, given that his team was up 11 points and had all the momentum? Without question.
Chill, Batman. This is not the time and place to start a fight.
Armed with a 13-point lead and heading into another timeout, Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger may have actually gotten a little too excited here.
If only Dwyane Wade was interested in making them pay.
Dwyane Wade is having one of the worst games of his career, and he appears to have made matters even worse by yelling at his own coach on the sidelines. The Heat star, who is 1-10 from the field and isn't giving much of an effort defensively, did not react well when Erik Spoelstra tried to scold him on the sidelines. Here's what resulted.
Yikes, that's not good.
To be fair to Wade, players do get mad in the heat of the moment. We're all seeing them at their worst, and sometimes, yelling happens when both parties are disagreeing. However, given the way Wade is playing, he's very out of line yelling at his coach. Spoelstra had every right to corner Wade to let him know about his poor play.
Since the timeout, things have only gotten worse, as Wade has committed two turnovers on very sloppy entry passes into the post. This is worth watching.
I don’t think I’ve seen Dwyane Wade play this passively in a long time. He often takes bad shots, but they’re usually bad shots out of aggression. In this game, he’s almost playing scared.
The last sequence was telling. Wade got a great kick-out pass from LeBron James at the top of the key. He was wide open. He didn’t shoot, though, looking at the rim, then putting it on the floor. Worse, instead of driving by Paul George, he tried taking a stepback jumper on him that fell way short.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with Wade, but it has to be something. He’s not just having a bad game. This feels worse.
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.
That is all.
After calling out the Pacers for excessive celebration, Dwyane Wade is 0-5 and has been taken out because the Heat have played much better with LeBron James and four other guys on the floor. Nice response, Dwyane.
And when Dahntay Jones is excited, he gives that backside a lil tap. The imaginary backside, of course.
Let's spice this up a bit.
Oh yeah. That's right.
There are three options.
1. He’s flopping.
2. He’s looking over his shoulder for the ball.
3. He’s trying to dodge bullets like he’s in the Matrix.
C’mon, Frank! You have to be ready to shoot! You just cost your point guard an assist!
In all seriousness: if the NBA introduced a coach 3-point shootout during All-Star Weekend, which coach would win? Who would do the worst? Caveat: The coaches have to shoot in their suits.
We knew this, but Dwyane Wade’s performance with the second unit only confirms the fact. When LeBron James came out of the game after one quarter, Erik Spoelstra left Wade in with four reserves. The Heat promptly saw their nine-point lead cut to two.
Wade has to get it going, especially considering he’s the one that has called out the Pacers the most in this series.
In a rare twist, Ronny Turiaf actually celebrated when he himself did something well on the court. Normally, his gyrations are reserved for when he’s watching on the bench as a teammate make a big play, but in this case, he grabbed a loose ball and stuck back a three-point play, prompting this reaction.
Everyone get out of Ronny’s way.
The Miami Heat have now scored on their last 10 possessions, all because they’re running simple high pick-and-rolls for LeBron James. By widening the court and running the pick-and-rolls at the top of the key instead of on the side, the Heat are properly taking advantage of their small lineup.
The third-leading scorer for the Miami Heat in Game 2 scored five points in 48 minutes.
As well as the Pacers are playing early on in this Game 3, they’re still having major issues entering the ball into the post. Eventually, the emotion of their fast start will fade and this will become an execution game. The Pacers need to do better here.
And … just as I say this, the Pacers executed a perfect lob pass to David West for a layup.
Play 2: Pittman stands under the rim in transition, allowing Paul George to get behind him for a put-back.
Play 3: Pittman gets a chance to post up Roy Hibbert for some reason and he hits the bottom of the rim on a layup.
Play 4: Pittman commits an obvious defensive foul.
Play 5: Pittman is taken out after 3 1/2 minutes.
It was a memorable time.
This doesn’t change the horrible use of the word “swagger” on the T-shirts, but I have to admit: The Indiana Pacers’ gold-out does look pretty cool.
That’s it. That’s the joke. It’s also not a joke.
The Heat and Pacers will meet in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Thursday.
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