Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

  1. #1
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,009

    Default Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...l/8624402.htm?

    [size=18:02d40a0ebd]Bad things come in 3s[/size]
    0-2 deficit doesn't bode well for Miami
    BY ISRAEL GUTIERREZ
    igutierrez@herald.com

    INDIANAPOLIS - The saying goes that a playoff series doesn't truly start until a team loses at home.

    Somehow, though, the Indiana Pacers have not only created the sense this series is underway, but that they took a healthy head start before the Heat noticed the race had started.

    Indiana handed Miami a worse-than-the-score-indicates 91-80 loss and took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series behind 20 points from Ron Artest and 19 points in 18 minutes from a suddenly youthful Reggie Miller.

    It was the kind of loss that can send an overmatched team into a collective state of depression. And the Heat will have to shake it off quickly if it's going to make a series out of this so-far one-sided contest.

    ''It was another tough one,'' Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. ``They really outplayed us again. It's the same old problem. We competed, we worked hard inside and got more rebounds. They just have so many weapons. It's tough.''

    What's even tougher is fighting back from the hole the Heat is in. In 173 previous occasions that a team has fallen behind 0-2 in a best-of-7, only seven have come back to win the series.

    Need to hear something positive? Something to make Games 3 and 4 worth watching and provide a glimmer of hope for the Heat?

    First, the Heat believes there were many correctable errors made in Saturday's Game 2. The most noticeable was the players' decision to suddenly abort the concept of team play and attempt to win the game individually.

    The Heat came out of the blocks well Saturday and managed to stay with the Pacers for a couple of laps, tying the score 27-27 on a Malik Allen jumper with 8:11 left in the second quarter.

    But then the misses piled up. The Heat was still within reach, never falling behind by more than nine in the first half, but the offensive possessions weren't ending with baskets, and that frustrated the young Heat.

    Adding to the anger was Miller's buzzer-beating three-pointer with Eddie Jones draped all over him that gave Indiana a 44-36 halftime lead.

    ''He took tough shots,'' said Jones, who scored nine points on six shots. ``He's been hitting tough shots his whole career. I've seen it for 11 years.''

    The frustration of the first-half failures resulted in the Heat abandoning the team concept and trying to take on the Pacers one-on-five.

    ''It wasn't anything selfish, but we were just trying too hard to make plays,'' forward Caron Butler said. 'When we saw the score, we said, `We're down 15, let me do it.' Everybody was trying to force the issue. But the result was bad because we ended up falling behind by 20 points.''

    By the end of the third quarter, Miami trailed 69-54 and was on the verge of being forcefully ejected from Conseco Fieldhouse. While the Heat was dealing with its anger poorly, the Pacers were methodically going about their business, eventually taking a 22-point lead.

    ''The one thing that happens is we're moving the ball and getting good looks, but we're not making it,'' said guard Rafer Alston, who shot 2 of 10 from the field. ``So therefore we revert to trying to do it single-handedly. Then we start to miss those shots instead of moving the ball and working the ball and working the whole offensive set.

    ``[The Pacers] do a great job of looking past the first option and going to the second or third option. Then if that doesn't work, come all the way back to the first.''

    The Heat's best options all night, Lamar Odom and Dwyane Wade, were limited by foul trouble. Odom, who had 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting and 12 rebounds, played 33 minutes before fouling out. And Wade played 36 minutes and scored 19 points with five assists and six turnovers.

    Odom was consistently frustrated with the officiating, especially when he picked up his fourth foul with 6:21 left in the third quarter and the Heat trailed by eight.

    ''I didn't feel like I played bad today,'' Odom said. ``I know I need to be on the court a little bit more. At some crucial times I felt like my hands were tied watching from the side. Not to say it was all on me, but I was just starting to feel good and then I pick up that foul.

    ``I'm trying to be as aggressive as I can. I'm trying to keep two hands on the ball and draw some contact. I don't shoot jumpers, and I only went to the free-throw line twice. I guess I'm not going strong enough to the hole. I've got to make it my business to get to the hole and draw contact and make it an obvious call, and on the other side stay out of foul trouble.''

    Still need reason to believe the series is not over? Consider that the Heat beat the Hornets by a combined 32 points to take a 2-0 lead in the first round, only to see the Hornets tie the series went it swung to New Orleans.

    The Pacers' combined margin of victory in this series: 24.

    ''We're playing great at home. That's a place where our energy is up extremely high,'' Alston said of AmericanAirlines Arena, where Miami has won 16 in a row. ``Guys feel like they can shoot the ball from halfcourt and win at home. We witnessed what happened to us when we were 2-0 and went to New Orleans.''



    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...rd/8624407.htm

    [size=18:02d40a0ebd]Here's the scary part: Heat is playing well[/size]
    DAN LE BATARD
    dlebatard@herald.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- It's unfair, really.

    If their MVP candidate doesn't dump 30 on your head and the league's best defensive player doesn't strangle you, then maybe, as they did Saturday night, the Indiana Pacers will have to settle for sticking a knife in you with only one of the most clutch players in basketball's history.

    That's what is so debilitating for the Miami Heat about the first two games of this series.

    Indiana isn't playing very well.

    And Miami is.

    And Indiana has, nonetheless, blown Miami out twice.

    That's what happens when the other guys are better than you.

    Indiana is deeper, bigger, more experienced and more talented.

    Other than that, though, Miami is in great shape.

    A recap: Lamar Odom and Dwyane Wade had very nice games Saturday night. Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal was suffocated for the second straight time, playing about as poorly as he ever will. And the Heat outworked and out-rebounded Indiana, again.

    That would be the Heat's optimum formula for beating the Pacers.

    But Indiana won by 11 anyway.

    It was funny afterward, hearing Reggie Miller say, ''We didn't play very well.'' And hearing the first post-game question to O'Neal be about why he's struggling so much. And hearing O'Neal say, ``Our top four or five players are struggling shooting the ball.''

    Your top four or five players are off, and you've still won an NBA record six consecutive playoff playoff games by double-digits?

    The Heat's Brian Grant shook those dreadlocks.

    ''Very deflating,'' he said.

    He added, ``Just goes to show how many weapons they have.''

    This many: Poor Caron Butler was playing in handcuffs Saturday against Ron Artest, who guards the basket the way pitbulls guard bowls. So Butler, predictably, began his Saturday 0 for 6. Artest went to the bench to chew on some raw meat and in to guard Butler came the ridiculously gifted Jonathan Bender, who is only 7-feet tall and even more athletic than the 6-7 Butler.

    (Such a strange thing. Nobody could have foreseen the dominant player Artest has become. If you had watched Artest and Butler playing their final season of Big East basketball, there's not a scout on this or any other planet who would have told you Artest would become the better pro than Butler. Butler may still grow into the player Artest is, but, unfortunately for the Heat, it won't be happening during this series.)

    ''First half, we played great,'' Butler said.

    And they were still down by eight.

    Blame Reggie Miller. He had 19 points in 18 minutes. And, as Grant sighed afterward, ''Every point was huge. Deflating points. They weren't ordinary points. Momentum was trying to shift in our direction, and he just took the air out of it.'' This is why the playoffs are known as Miller Time and not, say, Eddie Jones Time.

    (The Heat is a feel-good story, so I'm done with any Eddie Jones bashing for the remainder of the season. I promise. No more. It is going to take extraordinary discipline and unprecedented will power on my part, but there will only be praise of Jones in this space from now on. In the absence of any praise, you can just assume Miami's $86 million man vanished again.)

    Miller, 78 years old, has made and taken more playoff three-pointers than anyone in the sport's history. He did almost all of his scoring Saturday on . . . (Um, good Lord, my will power wasn't supposed to be tested this early. I just made the damn promise a paragraph ago.) Miller scored 19 points in 18 minutes despite extraordinary, suffocating, unprecedented defense by Eddie Jones.

    ''I don't put nothing past that dude,'' Butler said of Miller. ``He's a monster in the playoffs. He's been like that since I was eight years old. He's one of the best ever, hands down.''

    All of history's math tilts against Miami now. The Pacers have never in their history lost a series they led 2-0. And only four percent of NBA teams ever have rallied to win a series after trailing 0-2 (and every one of those four percent were substantively better than 42-40 Miami). Unsolicited, Miller and O'Neal and Indiana coach Rick Carlisle have raved about Miami's toughness and heart, but they're going to show more than that Monday.

    ''We played well,'' Grant said as he left the losing locker room. ``But not well enough.''



    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...te/8624416.htm

    [size=18:02d40a0ebd]Playing for pride now[/size]
    GREG COTE
    gcote@herald.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- The Heat and its fans now need the only thing -- the one item -- currently not available on eBay. A reason to believe. The rest of the nation needs a reason to stay awake -- to not abandon this lopsided series in desperate search of an infomercial for ''killer abs'' or perhaps a Matlock re-rerun.

    Miami fell thoroughly into an 0-2 hole here Saturday night to Indiana's superior Pacers in this NBA playoff series, and it left the Heat where it hasn't been since this same season began 0-7 way back in October.

    Trying to win as a matter of pride.

    Trying not to be embarrassed.

    Lamar Odom's voice was a husky whisper in the emptying postgame locker room. You had to lean in to hear that he was speaking at all.

    ''We've worked too hard all year to go out like this,'' he said.

    Like this.

    Being dominated.

    Doing so many things right, yet having so little chance.

    What a stunning contrast Round 2 of these playoffs have been for Miami compared to the opening series against New Orleans. What an illuminating reality check. A week ago we were marking the joyous accomplishment of Miami winning a playoff series, let alone merely making the postseason. Today, we begin to measure how far Miami still is from joining the elite.

    The Heat and Hornets slugged through to the maximum seven games, all but one of them decided in the final, tense minute. There was genuine drama there, an honest feeling of having no idea which team would advance, or how. It was the fiercest series of the opening round. A reason we love sports.

    Now, this.

    One round later, larger stakes, but hardly enough drama to fill a thimble.

    The dispassionate observer -- defined here as anyone whose face won't be painted in Heat colors for Game 3 Monday night -- might wonder, ''Can the Heat win?'' . . . and mean a single game, not the series.

    It is difficult to recall a local team in a series this lopsided. It surely wasn't Marlins-Yankees last fall, even going in. Baseball is different. One dominating pitcher levels the field. Ask Josh Beckett. Or the Yankees.

    Basketball is different. Home court and talent and depth are magnified.

    THE TASK AHEAD

    Miami must sweep the next two games back at the bayside arena even to elevate its chances in this series from nil to remote, and it's hard to image this Indiana team losing two straight to the Heat anywhere.

    That would include on Miami's court, on cracked asphalt with chain-link nets, on a cricket pitch in Pakistan, or on the surface of the moon.

    A split in Miami, which seems reasonable, sends the series back up here with the Pacers able to clinch at home in Game 5. That is why, right now, the odds of this series stretching beyond five games are roughly as long as the odds of seeing two NBA players standing side-by-side and neither one of them emblazoned by elaborate tattoos.

    The Pacers and the TV guys keep praising the Heat for its effort and heart. They keep using words like ''scrappy'' and ''tenacious.'' Those are compliments, but consolation prizes, too.

    They are the things you usually say about an opponent that works like crazy but simply isn't good enough.

    No shame in that. It's just that on the NBA scales of justice, Indiana's advantage in talent, depth, height and experience outweigh Miami's heart and workrate. Only by about a ton.

    Miami's 16-game home winning streak now is challenged by a Pacers team that had the NBA's best road record. A Pacers team that has won 10 straight overall against Miami and is the first team ever to win six straight playoff games by double digits.

    And if the Heat manages to pinch a win at home this week, they still must find a way to win at Conseco Fieldhouse. Despite having not won a single road game all season against a team with a winning record -- let alone the best record in the entire league.

    TOUGH STANDARD

    The Heat is left with the realization that it must fashion a perfect game to beat the Pacers.

    ''Not perfect, but almost perfect,'' corrected Caron Butler. ``You really got to be almost flawless.''

    Almost flawless does not include Odom and Brian Grant both fouling out, as they did Saturday. Does not include Butler's 1-for-8 shooting. Does not include Indiana leading faster Miami 11-0 in fast-break points after three quarters. Does not include Eddie Jones vanishing with a grand total of one shot attempt after the first quarter.

    You want the contrast Saturday that captured the disparity in this series?

    Closing seconds of the first quarter, Miami's Jones scoops up a loose ball and dribbles the length of the floor on a breakaway, laying the ball in at the buzzer. No basket. After a review, still no basket.

    Closing seconds of the second quarter, Reggie Miller, with Jones on him like cologne, hits an impossible fall-away three-pointer at the buzzer. Good!

    That was a five-point swing right there, and there you had it:

    Miami, too late.

    Indiana, too good.

    Coach Stan Van Gundy challenged his guys after they survived New Orleans. He asked them, ``Is this enough? Or do you still want more?''

    And Heat players have been saying all the right things, as when Butler insisted, ``We're not just happy to be here.''

    But those things suggest the Heat's mind-set was the determining factor here.

    It wasn't. It isn't.

    Indiana's talent, and depth, holds sway over all else.

    The intangibles aligned nobly on the underdogs' side -- Miami's fierce attitude and effort, etc. -- are what keep games respectably close, not what wins them.



    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...ll/8624404.htm

    [size=18:02d40a0ebd]Resilience is put to the test[/size]
    Caron Butler struggled through a 1-for-8 shooting night against Pacers star Ron Artest, but the Heat's second-year forward vowed to bounce back for Game 3.

    BY STEPHEN F. HOLDER
    sholder@herald.com

    INDIANAPOLIS - About the only silver lining on this otherwise forgettable Indiana evening for Heat forward Caron Butler was that he was able to forget it quickly.

    ''This night is over,'' the second-year player said, holding his head high after one of his longest games of this postseason.

    Butler didn't fret over his 1-for-8 shooting night as you might expect a young player to do. He simply turned the page and promised the next chapter in his playoff odyssey would have a happier conclusion.

    That Butler could so quickly make the decision to move past this moment was a credit to him, because this was not a moment that would be easily forgotten.

    While he produced only four points in the Heat's 91-80 Game 2 loss against the pacers Saturday, Butler promised a decipherable difference entering Game 3 on Monday in Miami. After this performance, moving forward was the only option.

    STAYING AGGRESSIVE

    ''I'm going to take my shot and continue to take it,'' Butler said. ``I'm going to play basketball. That's what I do. I'm always going to be aggressive.''

    Butler has been that and more for the Heat through the playoffs, his 1-for-6 outing in Game 5 against the Hornets in the first round the only glaring hole on his tiny playoff résumé. But Butler followed that performance with a 50-percent shooting night in Game 6 of that series, and the Heat needs that type of response in the face of this game.

    Butler has become one of the Heat's sure things during these playoffs, and on nights when Eddie Jones has one of his many off nights, or on evenings when Dwyane Wade looks like the rookie he is, Butler has usually been the guy there to pick up the pieces.

    ''He's been huge,'' Jones said of Butler. ``He's one of the guys we've gone to to knock down shots. I think we always need somebody else to step in, but he's been there for us. We're not thinking twice about him.''

    Neither is Butler.

    He was adamant afterward that his many missed shots Saturday were just that, misses. They weren't a byproduct of Ron Artest's defense, or the result of a lack of confidence.

    Butler has shown resilience this season, battling back from early-season injuries that had fans and opponents alike questioning if he was the player who last season finished third in voting for Rookie of the Year.

    ''Sometimes you have tough nights,'' Jones added. ``You just have to step it up and come out the next night.''

    But Butler has his hands full not only offensively, but on defense as well. That's where he has responsibility for Artest, who has 45 points through the series' first two games, 20 coming Saturday.

    Artest, at 6-7 and 246 pounds, is a gargantuan defensive assignment. He batters those defending him, sapping every ounce of energy from his man, energy that would have served Butler well on offense Saturday.

    RUGGED ASSIGNMENT

    And playing offense in the face of a defensive star like Artest isn't easy, either. He recorded three blocks and uses each of his rippling muscles to make driving around him a near physical impossibility.

    ''He's an All-Star,'' Butler said of the league's Defensive Player of the Year. ``He's a physical dude.''

    But that's what Butler hopes to be someday soon, and All-Stars don't let bad nights affect the next night. So, on Monday night, Butler's confidence and maturity and mental toughness will be put the test.

    Bring it on, Butler said.

    ''After watching the film of what happened tonight, I'm going to do the same thing back home, take the same shots,'' he said. ``And they're going to fall next time. It's simple as that.''



    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald...ll/8624417.htm

    [size=18:02d40a0ebd]The numbers do lie[/size]
    Despite being outrebounded and their best player having a sub-par series, the Pacers have cruised to a 2-0 lead.
    BY MICHAEL POINTER
    Special to The Herald

    INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Pacers aren't dominating the Eastern Conference semifinals, as a quick look at the stat sheet will attest.

    They're getting beat on the boards by the Heat. Their best player is struggling offensively.

    But the NBA's top team during the regular season finds itself in an enviable position because it is making shots at crucial times. And that's keeping the Heat from building any kind of momentum.

    Reggie Miller scored 19 points in just 18 minutes and hit a crucial three-pointer at the end of the first half as the Pacers beat the Heat 91-80 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

    DEPTH

    ''We've had depth all year,'' said Miller, whose 10-point average this season was the second-lowest regular-season average of his 17-year career. ``Tonight, we showed it. That's what is going to make this team hard to beat because you never know where it's going to come from.''

    Miller was 6 of 10 from the field, and Ron Artest scored 20 points for the Pacers, who also got a boost off the bench from Al Harrington (eight points, nine rebounds) and Fred Jones (eight points).

    They shot 49.1 percent from the field during the first three quarters (26 of 53) compared to 38.9 percent for the Heat (21 of 54) while building a 69-54 lead.

    The Pacers are 6-0 during the playoffs, with every win by double digits. They have won 11 games in a row overall.

    Indiana has won the first two games of this series even though the Heat have outrebounded the Pacers 91-77, including 44-38 on Saturday. Indiana All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal is just 10 of 32 from the field in the first two games.

    ''We got killed on the offensive boards, but we made some big shots,'' Indiana's Austin Croshere said. ``That's not characteristic of our team. We're usually the team that makes the hustle plays and gets the stops to make up for a poor shooting night.''

    Miller hit a three-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give Indiana a 44-36 lead at the break. He hit another with a hand in his face with 7:25 left in the third quarter, giving the Pacers a 55-46 lead.

    That propensity to make big plays at crucial times wasn't lost on Indiana coach Rick Carlisle.

    `MORE CONFIDENCE'

    ''That's what happens when you're on your home court,'' Carlisle said. ``You get that extra boost of energy, a little more confidence. Things tend to happen for you a little more easier.

    ``There were a couple of times we were up against the shot clock, and if we miss, they're taking off in numbers. But the ball goes in, and we're able to get back, so in effect, it ends up being a four- or five- point play.''

  2. #2

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    Your top four or five players are off, and you've still won an NBA record six consecutive playoff games by double-digits?

  3. #3
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,009

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    This from the Palm Beach Post


    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/...dc07f002a.html

    [size=18:b33cfe7be6]Miller ages well in powder keg[/size]
    By Greg Stoda, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
    greg_stoda@pbpost.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Something fine from his private stock.

    That's what Reggie Miller produced -- a performance of delicious vintage -- Saturday night in Conseco Fieldhouse.

    He's 38 years old now and in his 17th NBA season with every one of them spent wearing an Indiana Pacers uniform.

    He knows he's running out of last best chances.

    He has known it for a while, in fact, which is why he has done what he has done these past few seasons in lessening his responsibilities to hasten the maturation process of young teammates.

    That's rare for anyone who has been a superstar of Miller's ilk.

    But he's doing it, and it's working.

    It's certainly working well enough against the Heat to put Miami in a 2-0 hole in its best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pacers, who rode Miller's 19 points to a 91-80 victory in the set's second game.

    Oh, Ron Artest's 20 points actually led Indiana, but it was Miller's scoring that was most damaging to Miami.

    "The team has evolved to accept roles," said Miller, who has led the transformation so willingly. "Obviously, we have Jermaine (O'Neal), Ron and Al (Harrington) to produce big points night after night, but we have depth. That's what makes us a hard team to beat."

    It was Miller who made the Pacers a hard team to beat this time.

    He struck for five quick points in little more than the game's first 2 1/2 minutes. He had 11 by halftime, including a gut-punch three-pointer with 1.6 seconds remaining on a play he called for himself that boosted Indiana to a 44-36 edge.

    "I felt I could get Eddie Jones leaning one way and get a good look, and that's what happened," Miller said.

    He hit two more threes in the third quarter -- sip, sip from that tasty grape -- to set the home crowd screaming and the Heat reeling.

    "It's unique," said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, "to have a Hall of Fame player who's willing to defer to the younger guys for the benefit of the franchise and the future of the organization."

    Miller, however, deferred to no one on this night except on the matter of playing a mere 18 minutes. Six teammates got more court time.

    It's all part of the process.

    And everything is new again.

    Indiana broke up its 2000 Eastern Conference championship team all around Miller, who made his only NBA Finals appearance that season. He was the keeper who never pouted and then re-upped -- Miller currently is working under a three-year, $19 million contract through the 2005-06 season -- while voluntarily diminishing his own role for the benefit of the Pacers' new and youthful core of players.

    O'Neal, mostly.

    "Everyone here knows all the things Reggie has done for the Indiana Pacers," O'Neal said after a Friday afternoon practice session. "You didn't have to be on this team to know about it all those years.

    "Reggie is still a guy who makes big shots, but we have more options. But anyone who thinks he isn't one of our leaders is wrong. It'd be special to win a championship with him and get him a ring."

    A trophy would make Miller's sacrifices even more noteworthy, and make a terrific retirement package if he chose that path.

    Miller's statistics have dropped steadily through the past three seasons -- he averaged a career-low 10.0 points this year, most notably -- but he hasn't complained.

    "It's an unbelievable luxury," Carlisle said, "for us to have a guy who shows up every day and takes such meticulous care of himself."

    Miller elected to blend with the group and teach by example. He shared rather than clouding the Pacers' vision.

    He remains capable of dominating a game, if only in spurts. The 19:18 ratio of points-to-minutes played, Carlisle said, "should give you an idea of the possibilities."

    Heat coach Stan Van Gundy was more effusive: "The game was Reggie Miller. He's done this over and over again. It's not a coincidence he hits big shot after big shot. There's nobody in the league who works harder on his shooting and game preparation."

    And then there was Miami's Caron Butler, who's in his second year in the league and is amazed by Miller.

    "I don't put nothing past that dude," Butler said. "He's a monster in the playoffs. He's been like that for years, since I was 8. He's one of the best ever. Hands down."

    The Pacers went 41-41, 42-40 and 48-34 in the three years after their run to the NBA Finals, and lost in the playoffs' first round each season. They went 61-21 this year, though, and have won six straight in the playoffs, all by double-digit margins to set an NBA record.

    And the Pacers have a Reggie Miller who can not only taste, but sometimes still serve, the crisp wine of greatness.

  4. #4
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,009

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/...d6025000a.html

    [size=18:2d523e1a88]Indiana too much to handle[/size]

    By Dave George, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
    dave_george@pbpost.com

    INDIANAPOLIS -- The guys in those black Miami Heat uniforms are good, there just aren't enough of them.

    That is the numbers game behind Indiana's 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal. Heat coach Stan Van Gundy has but eight players he feels comfortable using, and at this advanced stage in the playoffs eight is definitely not enough. It keeps everybody tired, keeps everybody on edge, keeps everybody pressing to make a practically perfect play every time down the court.

    Who will come to the rescue in Game 3? Nobody, unless it's the sixth man that all of you will represent in the stands at AmericanAirlines Arena.

    If there's anyone out there in the upper deck Monday who can drive better than Rasual Butler, or outshoot Samaki Walker or grab more rebounds than Loren Woods or lope up and down the court with more grace than Wang Zhi-Zhi, don't hesitate to step forward. You have just as strong a chance of getting onto the court for anything but garbage time as any of those guys, just as great an opportunity to make a difference in this series.

    In fact, the Heat might just as well take the numbers of their jerseys and stitch across the back of them the message "DNP-- Coach's Decision." That's how permanent the problem. Miami's bench, compared to Indiana's, should be a row of cushy recliners with built-in cupholders, the better to enjoy the view.

    "They're bigger and stronger at virtually every position," Van Gundy said of the Pacers before Saturday's 91-80 Indiana yawner even began. "We're up against a better opponent."

    A broader one, too.

    It really can't get any more elementary than this, the difference between being a true NBA championship contender like Indiana and an overachieving, pestering post-season pretender like Miami. The pattern of 10 consecutive Pacers victories over the Heat does not lie. We're talking quality and quantity, a deadly double that Miami may be able to overcome once in a series, particularly at home, but never at Conseco Fieldhouse.

    "They've got so many weapons," Van Gundy said. "They've got too many other guys who can step in and hurt you. Tonight Jamaal Tinsley only scores one point but Anthony Johnson comes off the bench and gets four baskets."

    Indiana's bench outscored Miami's 34-22 Saturday. That's a 12-point edge in a game Indiana won by 11. After a while it really does get to be about fresh legs, a commodity needed to launch three-point shots. The Pacers made a pile of those in Game 2, making 7-of-18 from beyond the arc. That's 39 percent, a virtual match with what the Heat shot overall. Three of those three-pointers came from backups Fred Jones and Austin Croshere. Miami got one home-run ball from Eddie Jones in the first quarter and nothing more.

    What else can we expect when it takes Brian Grant and Lamar Odom fouling out in the fourth quarter for Van Gundy to go beyond his original eight and grant Rasual Butler five mundane minutes. Nothing personal. It's just personnel.

    With a fresh unit of five capable players to come off the bench, the Pacers are good and plenty. Nothing less qualifies a team to make any serious post-season noise. Nothing, certainly, under the South Florida sun.

    Jermaine O'Neal, third in the league MVP voting, is 10-of-32 shooting in the first two games. Irrelevant. Reggie Miller scored 19 points in 18 minutes Saturday and didn't even take the floor for the fourth quarter. What else is new, other than the Pacers' streak of six consecutive victories by double-digit margins, an NBA playoff record? As Indiana coach Rick Carlisle put it, "When we've got a situation where our top player (O'Neal) is struggling and we're still able to win on our home court, that's encouraging."

    Winning one quarter out of the eight that have been played in this series, that's demoralizing. Being gassed for the biggest games of your life, that's disaster, especially when the enemy knows it.

    "I don't see any of their guys backing down," said O'Neal, "but some of them are looking a little weary, a little fatigued. It's hard to play us with seven or eight guys, especially when you're coming off a tough seven-game series. On our team, we've got 10-12 guys who can actually play."

    The whole dirty dozen of them played, and played well, for Indiana on Saturday night. A sellout crowd of 20,000 will try to shout the Pacers down Monday.

    It's Van Gundy's not-so-secret weapon, and it's still not as scary as Scot Pollard coming off the Indiana bench with that skunky hairstyle and those weird, angular sideburns. There's just too many of these Pacers, and not enough bodies on the Miami bench to prevent this from becoming a dead Heat.

  5. #5
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    52,585
    Mood

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    If their MVP candidate doesn't dump 30 on your head and the league's best defensive player doesn't strangle you, then maybe, as they did Saturday night, the Indiana Pacers will have to settle for sticking a knife in you with only one of the most clutch players in basketball's history.

    That's what is so debilitating for the Miami Heat about the first two games of this series.

    Indiana isn't playing very well.

    And Miami is.

    And Indiana has, nonetheless, blown Miami out twice.

    That's what happens when the other guys are better than you.

    Indiana is deeper, bigger, more experienced and more talented.

    Other than that, though, Miami is in great shape.

  6. #6
    Boom Baby'er ABADays's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The Coliseum
    Posts
    6,248

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    Some of the stories seemed a little tough on the Heat. You can only do what you can do. They have battled every minute of every game. You can't ask for anything more of your team. They deserve all the support they get in South Florida.
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

  7. #7
    Administrator Roaming Gnome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Indy's Wild Wild West Side: 8 sec-check...Club Rio-check...Cloud 9-check
    Age
    40
    Posts
    5,927

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    Poor Caron Butler was playing in handcuffs Saturday against Ron Artest, who guards the basket the way pitbulls guard bowls. So Butler, predictably, began his Saturday 0 for 6. Artest went to the bench to chew on some raw meat and in to guard Butler came the ridiculously gifted Jonathan Bender, who is only 7-feet tall and even more athletic than the 6-7 Butler.
    raw meat...

    That is why he is The Beast!!!
    ...Still "flying casual"
    @roaminggnome74

  8. #8

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    Some of the stories seemed a little tough on the Heat. You can only do what you can do. They have battled every minute of every game. You can't ask for anything more of your team. They deserve all the support they get in South Florida.
    I thought so too. That seems pretty typical of the Miami writers though who jump on the "bash the locals" bandwagon like they writer cousins from New York do too. The Heat are overmatched sure, but there was a bit too much gloom and doom it seems.

  9. #9
    Grumpy Old Man (PD host) able's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    8,631

    Default Re: Game Two Coverage from the Miami Herald

    Some of the stories seemed a little tough on the Heat. You can only do what you can do. They have battled every minute of every game. You can't ask for anything more of your team. They deserve all the support they get in South Florida.
    I thought so too. That seems pretty typical of the Miami writers though who jump on the "bash the locals" bandwagon like they writer cousins from New York do too. The Heat are overmatched sure, but there was a bit too much gloom and doom it seems.
    I agree completely, a nice article about the team's heart would be nice, everyone knows they are overmatched right now, so praise 'm for staying there and working for it ,

    no need to talk 'm down.
    So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.

    If you've done 6 impossible things today?
    Then why not have Breakfast at Milliways!


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •