Thursday, May 17, 2012

Feeling the Heat

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The Miami Heat dropped their second straight playoff game to the Indiana Pacers tonight as the gaping hole left by injured starting power forward Chris Bosh was exposed once again. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise though. The Heat were just 4-5 without Bosh in the lineup during the regular season compared to 41-15 with him. Let's take a closer look at those 9 games:

3/01/12 - W @ Portland 107-93
3/02/12 - L @ Utah 99-98
3/04/12 - L @ Lakers 93-83
4/18/12 - W vs Toronto 96-72
4/19/12 - W vs Chicago 83-72
4/21/12 - L vs Washington 86-84
4/22/12 - W vs Houston 97-88
4/24/12 - L @ Boston 78-66
4/26/12 - L @ Washington 104-70

The four wins?

1) LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score 71 points in the win over the Blazers.
2) The Toronto Raptors starting 5 consisted of Amir Johnson, Alan Anderson, Aaron Gray, Ben Uzoh and DeMar DeRozan.
3) The Bulls were without Derrick Rose.
4) The Rockets entered the game losers of 6 of 7 and were without Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin.

So it's hardly an impressive resume. And now on top of it, the Heat have just been absolutely punished by the Pacers inside the last two games getting outrebounded 50-40 in Game 2, and then 52-36 tonight. The big man combination of Udonis Haslem, Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony, Juwan Howard and Dexter Pittman has produced these two less-than-impressive lines:

Game 2: 60 minutes, 3/13 FG, 7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 7 fouls
Game 3: 57 minutes, 4/10 FG, 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 7 fouls

It looks even worse when you compare it to what Indiana's Roy Hibbert has been able to do BY HIMSELF in that same span:
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Game 2: 33 minutes, 2/6 FG, 8 points, 11 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls
Game 3: 33 minutes, 9/16 FG, 19 points, 18 rebounds, 1 turnover, 4 fouls

So yeah. Hibbert has 29 rebounds. Haslem/Turiaf/Anthony/Howard/Pittman have 24. In about half the minutes. Not good. The Heat are going to need one of their big men to step up in this series or Miami's in real trouble. You can expect LeBron and Wade to play better in Game 4, but Indiana goes 10 deep and they're getting contributions from everywhere. Miami? They had the Dexter Pittman experiment. Pittman started Game 3 and was yanked after 3 1/2 minutes and didn't return. In that span he had 2 shots blocked by Hibbert, he was outrebounded by Hibbert 3-0, and he committed a foul on Hibbert going for a rebound. That is not how you earn more playing time, and if the Heat's role players keep turning in performances 'Like a Bosh', expect more results like you saw tonight.

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