LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat are set to take on David West, Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers on Thursday in a pivotal game 3 matchup. Miami will look to reclaim home court and seize control of the series by grabbing a road victory in the Conseco Fieldhouse.
Erik Spoelstra predicted the series would "feel like it's in a cage"and it appears his expectation has already come to fruition. Game 2 featured an array of personal fouls, technicals and a ambiguous flagrant 1 foul that Wade committed on Darren Collison that some believe could have been upgraded to a 2. So what can we expect in game 3?
The first two 2 games have been chippy to say the least and with no timetable on Chris Bosh's return, LeBron James will be relied on once again to play significant minutes at the power forward position. LeBron spoke about the physicality of this series and the toll it's taking on his body:
"It's a lot more taxing being in there with bigger guys. Defensively is the biggest difference. When you're on the perimeter, there's more space, the interior is more cramped and physical..but I'm ready for the challenge. -James said
Who Needs to Step up
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will need offensive contributions from their role players for the Heat to pull this victory out. According to ESPN, Wade and LeBron have scored or assisted on 81 of Miami's 90 second half points in this series, including 33 of 37 in game 2. Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Mike Miller and perhaps even James Jones will be needed for Miami to muster together some offense in this game. The Heat are shooting a dismal 1-22 from 3-point range in this series and until they start making shots from the perimeter, spacing will be an issue for Wade and LeBron.
Like it or love it, fatigue has been the undertone of this series and even the playoffs thus far. With Bosh sidelined, it will be interesting to see how coach Spoelstra manages minutes and attempts to keep Wade and LeBron fresh enough down the stretch where their leadership will be desperately needed.