The series against the Indiana Pacers has so far proved to be as tough as most people thought it would be. Game One went into overtime, and took the Miami Heat to the last seconds of the game. Propelled by a buzzer beating layup by LeBron James, the Heat won Game One.
Despite LeBron posting a Triple Double with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists; there were still noticeable flaws in the performance of the Miami Heat. Chris Anderson went 7-7 with attempted and made Field Goals, posting 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 key blocks. However, the game would probably not have been as close if Ray Allen and Shane Battier produced like they are capable of.
In Game One, Shane Battier shot 0-4 from 3 point range, while Ray Allen shot 1-4 from 3 point range. Ray Allen also missed a key Free Throw attempt that would have iced the game in regulation. Shane Battier never made a shot, making only 3 Free Throws for 3 points on the night. Outside of Anderson's 16 points, the bench only produced 9 points.
Game Two proved to be a struggle for role players as well. Shane Battier shot 0-2 from 3 point range, and 0-3 in Field Goals. Battier had 0 points on the night. Ray Allen failed to hit a 3 point attempt, shooting 0-2. Allen hit went 2-5 on Field Goals for the night. Allen also missed two more Free Throws on the night, going 2-4.
It can be argued that LeBron blew it with two late turnovers. However, the lack of production from Battier and Ray Allen has not helped at all. LeBron has carried the Heat without much help from role players. If the Heat are going to win the series, they cannot rely on LeBron James to continue to be a hero.
Udonis Haslem also needs to be more efficient. In Game One Haslem shot 1-6 and had only 2 points. In Game Two Haslem shot 0-1 and made 1 Free Throw attempt out of 2 attempts. Three total points in two games is not enough for the Heat if they want to win this series. If Haslem can make open shots provided from driving, then it will make the Pacer defense account for him.
Chris Bosh needs to continue to be productive and efficient from outside. If he can make the outside shots, whether they are long two's or three point shots, it will open up the inside for LeBron and company. Chris Bosh making outside shots will force Roy Hibbert or whoever the Pacer big is, defend Bosh outside.
The Heat need to hope Dwyane Wade continues to be healthy enough to remain an offensive factor. He has been healthy enough to slash to the rim and make plays. Wade seems to save himself enough to make the big plays at the right time. If Wade's health makes it too difficult for him to slash to the rim and score, then he will only be able to shoot jump shots. This is not the formula that made the Heat dominant in their 27 game winning streak.
The Heat did not get to the Free Throw line as much as the Pacers did in game two. The Pacers had 32 Free Throw attempts, while the Heat attempted 26 Free Throw Shots. A stat that has much more meaning in a four point loss.
All things considered, if the Heat is able to get better production out of the role players they should win the series in 5 or 6. The Miami Heat have too great of a team to rely on LeBron James being a hero.
Miami Heat fans should have faith, and not be fearful. The Heat nearly won both home games without much help from role players. When the role players step up, the Miami Heat will be able to handle the Indiana Pacers with much more ease than we saw in Game One and Game Two.