Five Takeaways from Game 3
Five takeaways from the Pacers’ 114-96 loss to Miami on Sunday:
1. The Pacers now face the daunting task of beating the Heat three times out of the next four games. The Heat only lost three games out of their final 48 of the season. “We’ll see where we’re at,” Paul George said. “It will show us what we’re made of to come out of here and battle back.”
2. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the Heat’s greatness, consider this: They haven’t lost two games in a row since Jan. 8 and 10, when they lost on the road to the Pacers and Portland.
3. The Pacers gave up an average of about 35 points in the paint during the regular season. Miami, however, has scored 60, 40 and 52 points in the first three games of the series despite not having a low-post scoring threat – other than when LeBron James decides to become one. That’s an indication of Miami’s quickness and ability to attack the basket with dribble penetration.
4. Guard play continues to be the determining factor for the Pacers. The frontline has been fairly consistent, and effective. Roy Hibbert is averaging 22.7 points, George is averaging 20.7 and West is averaging 20. They’ve outscored Miami’s frontline in each of the three games of the series. George Hill has played well, too, averaging 14 points on 48 percent shooting, and has hit 5-of-8 three-pointers. That leaves Stephenson, who, since his celebrated 25-point effort when the Pacers closed out New York in the second round, has totaled 24 points in three games against the Heat while hitting 8-of-32 shots. Pacers coach Frank Vogel described him as the key to the series in Miami, and it rings even more true now.
5. Chris Andersen looks like a freak, with his spiked Mohawk and blanket of tattoos, but he’s been freakishly good for Miami off the bench. He’s hit all 13 of his field goal attempts, most of them dunks, and 6-of-7 foul shots. He also ranks second on his team with 17 rebounds, and has a series-best six blocked shots.