Unbearable: –adjective not bearable; unendurable; intolerable ; the Miami Heat’s performance against the Indiana Pacers
In what should have been a routine game against an inferior team, the Heat started slow, sputtered, blinked and found themselves in an unbearable rout by the Indiana Pacers 93-77, making it the second consecutive loss to a sub .500 team. It wasn’t that the Pacers have NBA champion pedigree or had a rare three point shooting display from a non-shooting power forward or hustled to grab offensive boards to tie the game and scantily win with a buzzer beater. Simply, the Pacers merely outplayed the Miami Heat with a higher class of professional basketball.
The Pacers, like every opponent to date, was not fazed by the statistical behemoth that now looks average to mediocre at best. Curiously, the Pacers were not extraordinary and had a rather pedestrian game highlighted by deft ball movement and pure will. Indiana shot a dismal 41.1% while the Heat comparably shot 38.7% (lowest since the Celtics opener) including 20% (4-20) from the three point line. Franchise player Danny Granger and Most Improved Player candidate Roy Hibbert combined for a rare 10-for-32 shooting performance. Roy was hobbled with foul trouble and Granger could not find his shot but contributed 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
Although the Heat shot 38 free throws to the Pacers 13, it was the deficit on the offensive boards (12-6), the high turnovers (22-13) and difference in assists (26-16) that made Miami look like the And1 streetball team, full of isolation plays and lack of direction. Coach O'Brien's excellent system was basketball ballet at it's best, a work of art the Heat could only hope to replicate in order to deliver and not be trounced by it.
Once upon a time, Pat Benatar defiantly sang: "Hit me with your best shot, fire away". The Heat have unknowingly sang the same tune to the rest of the NBA and the world assumed they would take command in the form of blowouts, alley-oops, a seamless barrage of raining threes, and fast break dunks to capture in historic photography books. So far the boys are getting hit, and it doesn’t seem they’re interested in retaliating with the same bravado to which they’re being subjected to.
The cherry on top would be the nonchalance from the Heat trio in their response to the loss. Dwyane Wade commented "it’s not the end of the world", Lebron James added "we gotta have more fun" and Chris Bosh said "it is what it is". Obviously, it isn’t the end of the world by the 82 game season standards, the fun begins with a W in the victory column and it is what it looks like, an atrocious loss to what is considered an inferior opponent. When is too soon to react or too late to disregard?
After the game, LeBron, Bosh and Wade seemed defensive when interviewed and nobody can blame them for such recoil to the aggregate criticism. Their amalgamation has brought mounting pressure that seemed easier to surpass on paper than on the court. It is in them to overcome it, as they have many times before, but it surely won’t be in the literal sense, fun. Heart, effort and hustle are unfun traits championship teams display on a consistent basis and for now, consistency is an anomaly that 14 games in seems to be escaping them as quickly as their guarded words.
Video review next.....