This should come as a surprise to no one, but if the Indiana Pacers try to match perimeter guns with the Miami Heat howitzers that are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, they will lose this series.
That's the trap they fell into in Game 4, and it cost them a contest they dominated early.
No, this team needs to pound the ball inside to Roy Hibbert and David West if they want to survive. With the absence of Chris Bosh for the Heat, it becomes all the more important.
They'll need more than the combined 18 points and 15 rebounds they got from the pair in Game 4. There were buckets to be had inside, but instead the Pacers' offense became perimeter-happy and gave away too many possessions.
The Pacers' shot 7-of-22 from beyond the arc in this series. Under no circumstance should this team be attempting that many three-point shots (they averaged 17.7 in the regular season).
Relying so heavily on perimeter shooting is a recipe for disaster against this Heat team, especially when the shot isn't falling and it creates long rebounds, which is like rocket fuel for Miami's deadly transition attack.
And with Wade and LeBron combining for 70 points in the game, the Pacers most certainly could not afford to give away possessions, which they often did with hasty outside shooting.
In the two games the Pacers have won in this series, Hibbert and West combined for 57 points and 48 rebounds. Hibbert's performance in Game 3 (19 points, 18 rebounds, five blocks) was absolutely ridiculous.
Indiana will _____________ if they reemphasize dominating in the paint.
I wouldn't expect him to replicate the performance, but he must be a major force in the paint if Indiana wants to win this series.
Plus, it's another way this Pacers team can slow the tempo against the Heat. Pounding the ball inside, working the shot clock and gaining easy buckets will help this team grind out the game and will supplement the their defensive effort.
The pressure is on James and Wade in this series. Everyone knows they alone have to carry this Miami offense. So Indiana's best bet is to make them do it in the halfcourt and keep their easy, transition looks to a minimum.
Pound them inside, Indiana. Turn to Hibbert and West to win this series. Don't get sucked into playing the Heat's type of game. You'll lose that game and, in the process lose a golden opportunity to beat a Heat team without one of its stars.
And honestly, everyone outside of Miami is pulling for you. So don't let us down.
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