May 18, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward David West (21) is guarded by Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat Looks To Solve Defensive Woes, Even Series

 

Just when everyone was basically writing off the Pacers after their inconsistent performance in both their playoff series’ with the Atlanta Hawks and and the Washington Wizards, they bounce back in Game 1 versus Miami with an impressive 107-96 victory. 

Indiana did so by picking apart Miami’s defense, getting open looks and knocking down the three-ball—finishing 8-of-19 from deep. The Pacers played extremely well as a team and deserved the win, but until they show up with some sort of consistency nobody really expects them to win the series. 

According to nba.com, in 14 postseason games Indiana has shot only 44.8 percent from the field, and 38.2 percent from beyond the arc while only averaging 92.5 points per game.

In Game 1 against the Heat, Indiana shot 51.5 percent from the floor, and 42.1 percent from deep — which is going to win the game no matter who you are playing. The Heat’s defense was definitely exposed in Game 1, they lacked a low post presence down low guarding Hibbert and West. With the Pacers big men owning the post, that opened up opportunities for guys like George Hill, Lance Stephenson, and C.J. Watson to hit some outside shots almost uncontested. 

Here is the Pacers’ Game 1 shot chart:

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Indiana’s defense will be the deciding factor in Game 2, people didn’t seem to realize the Heat still managed to shoot 51.3 percent from the field in Game 1 despite an abysmal 6-of-23 showing from long range. Chris Bosh struggled big time in Game 1 as well, shooting 4-for-12 from the field on his way to a nine-point, two rebound performance. 

Another noticeable issue for Miami was the fact that Dwyane Wade and LeBron James only combined for five free throw attempts, which is significantly low for them. During the playoffs, the duo has combined for 15 free throw attempts per game. They weren’t attacking the basket as much as they usually do, and in Game 2 definitely expect them to attack. 

The biggest issue from Game 1 for Miami was their poor defense. Everything from poor defensive rotations, leaving defensive assignments at inopportune times and even losing guys on back cuts to the rim. When the Heat watch the game film from Game 1, they will be furious at the simple mistakes that were made during the course of the game.

The Pacers have to assume the Heat will fix those problems and come out in Game 2 ready to play. 

 

Tags: 2014 NBA Playoffs Indiana Pacers Miami Heat NBA

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