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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