LeBron James finished with 27 points, and hit a game tying three pointer to send the game into overtime. Dwyane Wade hit an impossible shot at the end of overtime to give the Miami Heat a 93-91 win over the Indiana Pacers. Any questions about the Heat’s ability to handle tight games by all of their big three has been suspended until the postseason.
This game had a lot of playoff feel to it. The low score (although nothing rare this NBA season), shooting jitters, strong defenses, especially by the Heat, limiting the Indiana Pacers to 37.9% from the field, save only by a very good three point shooting day, with 7-17 (41.2%).
Chris Bosh has still not back to the form he was in before taking a leave to mourn a death in the family, scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds. He lacks the aggression and ferocity that was there a month ago, but he still hit a big shot in overtime, tying the game, leading up to Wade’s one on one showdown in the final seconds.
LeBron James doesn’t need to hit game winning shots or buzzer beaters to prove he’s great. The over-criticism of right, right plays and choices he makes, like finding an open Haslem against the Jazz. But so he can quiet people from time to time, came the game tying shot. It wasn’t planned as James going for up a three, but actually great movement and passing from the Miami Heat. Something we don’t usually see from teams on final-shot plays.
Something of a ritual in the NBA (not so much in European basketball), there’s an isolation and some gentleman’s agreement between the teams and head coaches about a one on one play to decide the game. Watching how the Heat won the game, with Wade not seeing any pressure while moving the ball up the court, with the Pacers leaving only David West to try and stop him, it just seems silly at times. Especially when giving Dwyane Wade, who’s already hit a couple of game winners this season, so much space and time to come up with a winner.
LeBron James finished with 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, and one huge three. The ball movement and off-ball movement created the shot. No isolation, just James-Wade-Chalmers passing and keeping on the move, leaving far more than enough space while the Pacers were dazzled. The Heat are at their best when games move fast, and there’s no reason the same ball movement won’t be seen more often during games.
Wade finished with 28 points and 7 assists, and kept the Heat in the game all day long. They had a +14 with Wade on the court, more than anyone else on the team. LeBron James, playing 47 minutes, was having an off night with his shooting, seeing some good defense from Danny Granger.
The Pacers look like a tough team to meet in the postseason. Currently 5th in the East (23-15), the addition of West and the emergence of Roy Hibbert while Paul George continues to develop, they’re a tough match up for any team. I don’t see them beating the Heat or the Bulls in a playoff series, but their quite capable of beating anyone else in the East.
For the Heat, and most of all LeBron James, it was a big win over a very good team that will quiet the crunch-time critics, if only for a short while.