With the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals tied at a game a piece, it's safe to say if you're the Miami Heat you've accomplished the very thing every road team vies for when they start a series on the road. They took one from Indy on their home floor. No matter how dire it looked at times during Game 2's fourth quarter adventure, the Miami Heat tapped into their championship resolve and found a way to win a game they definitely needed.
Now as the scene shifts to Miami starting Saturday night one thing is crystal clear. Games 3 and 4 should be approached as must wins.
In no way am I trying to sound a premature panic alarm for Heat Nation especially this early into a seven game series but if we're going to be honest, the Indiana Pacers have shown up as a worthy opponent whether some Heat fans choose to acknowledge it or not. While Game 1 we can chalk up into an total anomaly and outlier in terms of Indiana's offensive efficiency, Game 2 was much closer to the Pacer team we've seen for much of the season and yet they were a few bounces from grabbing a 2-0 stranglehold on this series.
And of course that would've begun the 72 hours of noise that quite frankly Heat fans haven't really dealt with since the end of last year's NBA Finals. Will LeBron consider returning home to Cleveland now they have have the #1 overall draft pick for the third time in four years? Is the Big Three going to break up? Yeah, the noise. Don't we all miss it?
***enter sarcastic laugh***
But since we did avoid all that in the short term here iss what's at stake.
Paul George's availability for Game 3 as of writing this column is uncertain. That alone leaves blood in the water for Miami to take full advantage, however fair it may or may not be. Bottomline: the Heat need to sweep these next two games at AmericanAirlines Arena and put Indiana on their heels when the scene shifts back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Game 5.
It starts with LeBron James continuing to facilitate to his teammates as he has done so far this series. It starts with Dwyane Wade having a flashback of his former greatness (not saying he's not great anymore cause we already know the truth). It also needs Chris Bosh to become more engaged throughout the entire game even when his shot is not falling.
It also more importantly, as evident from Game 2 that someone or a group of guys on the bench needs to step up to the plate when their number is called (Shoutout to Chris Andersen and Norris Cole for Game 2) .
Win both Games 3 and 4 and Miami puts a mental dagger inside the heart of the "Jeckyll and Hyde" Pacers. Split the next two and we may have a problem. Lose the next two? Well let's not even think about that right now. That's another column for another day.
And besides I don't want anymore "noise" especially on Memorial Day weekend.