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Thread: 5/24/2012 NBA Playoffs, Second Round - Game Thread #6: Pacers Vs. Heat

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    Default 5/24/2012 NBA Playoffs, Second Round - Game Thread #6: Pacers Vs. Heat



    Game Time Start: 8:00 PM EST
    Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
    Officials: S. Foster, M. Davis, K. Mauer, D. Jones

    Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Miami Notes
    Local Radio: WIBC 93.1 FM
    NBA Feeds:

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    Series & Season Records:

    Home: 3-2

    Away: 3-2
    Upcoming Games:
    May 26

    GAME 7 - If Necessary

    Projected Starting Lineup:
    Projected Starting Lineup:

    Danny Granger - Softball Ankle (probable)
    Lance Stephenson - Dexter'd in Miami (probable)
    David West - sprained knee (probable)

    Chris Bosh - Lower Abdominal Strain (out indefinitely)
    Udonis Haslem - Tough Pill Overdose (suspended)
    Dexter Pittman - Dexters in Miami are usually more subtle about their violence (suspended)

    Extremely Relevant Video:

    Eight Points, Nine Seconds Preview:
    Tim Donahue: Some Thoughts About Game 6

    Tonight, in the Fieldhouse, the Indiana Pacers face elimination at the hands of the
    Miami Heat. Just a few days ago, the Pacers were perfectly positioned to take control
    of the series, and really, move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. On a day where
    nothing short of greatness from LeBron James and Dwayne Wade could change the
    direction of their season, the Miami duo delivered. Two days later in Miami, the Heat
    , and the Pacers basically rolled over.

    And here we sit.

    So, heading into tonight’s game, here are my thoughts on a few things:

    Danny has to be Effective

    In my opinion, the Pacers’ chance begin with this, and they’ll end with it if he’s limited.
    The Pacers need him to be able to hit shots, and they need him to be able to chase
    LeBron, but mostly, they just need him.

    When Granger went down on Tuesday night, the Pacers staggered. While it’s true they
    hadn’t played well up to that point, Indiana was still within a bucket when it happened.
    Also, they probably hadn’t played as poorly as they did in the first half of Game 2 –
    which they ended up winning. For all the flak Danny gets, he’s crucial to this team.
    Put simply, they are significantly less talented without him. But more that that, they
    are incomplete. This illustrates a point that I’ve been trying (and failing) to make all
    season. That is that the Pacers are actually more susceptible to injury – generally –
    because they rely on more players.

    Consider this: For Miami to be a good (read: playoff team), they basically just need
    LeBron to be healthy and productive. To be a threat to win the Eastern Conference
    Title and perhaps even an NBA Title, they need LeBron and one of either Dwyane
    Wade or Chris Bosh to be healthy and productive. (I’m not sure it matters which.)
    If they have all three, then they are favorites in the East, and at least even for the
    title. In effect, as long as they don’t lose LeBron, they are better than most teams.

    For Indiana to play at this level, however, they pretty much need their top six
    players – Granger, David West, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Paul George, and Darren
    Collison – to play well. In addition, they probably need a good contribution from
    Leandro Barbosa, and they need the rest of the bench – Hansbrough, Amundson,
    Jones – to at least tread water. While they have more bodies that help, that’s also
    more pain for the whole when any one is either hurt or unproductive.

    Further, they are built this way. This probably goes a long way towards explaining
    their propensity for what fellow contributor Jeremy Comstock called “vomit inducing
    .” They lean on each other so much, that when one falls, they all fall. And
    while they’re all important, Danny Granger probably bears more weight in this
    foundation than any player with the possible exception of David West.

    Does that mean that the Pacers would have won Tuesday, or will win tonight if
    Danny were healthy? No. It just means that I can’t see them winning without him
    being a meaningful contributor.

    The suspensions are irrelevant

    There was a bunch of hubbub about the flagrant fouls on Tuesday night, and the NBA
    came out with further punishment yesterday. None of the players involved are of any
    significant meaning to the series.

    Udonis Haslem suspended for Game 6 - At one point in his career, the loss
    of Haslem would have been crippling. I don’t think that’s true any more.
    Though some will point to his Game 4 performance, I will argue that while
    his points hurt, the Pacers were beaten by the outrageous performances of
    James and Wade. James and Wade are the difference. Haslem is not.

    Tyler Hansbrough upgraded to Flagrant 2, will play in Game 6 – I’m sure
    many Pacer fans will argue, but I don’t see Tyler as a factor. He will play,
    and because of that, he has the chance to make a difference. I just don’t
    think he can or will. After scoring 22 points on 10-for-19 shooting in his
    playoff debut, Tyler has averaged 5.6 points on 31% shooting over his
    last 14 playoff games. This playoffs, the Pacers are a net 10 points per
    100 worse with Tyler on the floor, and their overall rebounding
    percentage drops from 54.3% to 47.6%. I see his reprieve as no real
    cause for celebration.

    Dexter Pittman suspended for three games...Really. Does anybody care?

    Were these penalties appropriate? My opinion isn’t of any consequence, which is why
    it’s so easy to give it. I’d say Haslem’s appropriate, Tyler’s too light, and Pittman’s
    way too light.

    My take: the fouls committed by both Haslem and Hansbrough is that they were
    defacto punches. Haslem has no real grounds for defense, and the fact that he
    caught Tyler in the shoulder instead of the face is really just happenstance. Given
    the size and motion of the players, the force involved in the blow was probably
    greater than any punch that I – or most of the people watching – could throw. It
    was intentional, and it was clear retaliation. Plus, Miami had probably used up
    their get out of jail free card when Wade was not suspended for Game 3.

    Hansbrough’s situation is fuzzier...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s

    Heat Index Preview:
    5-on-5: What happens in Game 6?

    Suspensions have been handed out. Motivational tactics have been deployed. What will
    we see from the Heat and Pacers after their eventful Game 5? Here are 25 takes.

    How do you expect the Pacers to respond after Larry Bird called them "soft"?

    Tom Haberstroh (Heat Index): By exploiting the David West-versus-Shane Battier
    matchup. To me, this is all about West and his inability to put a dent in Battier. Battier's
    crafty, but the listed weight difference of 15 pounds might be the biggest lie in sports.
    The matchup should resemble a bowling ball barreling toward a bowling pin, but the
    Pacers have been throwing gutter balls instead.

    Beckley Mason ( With their backs pressed firmly against elimination
    and playing in front of a passionate home crowd, the Pacers will give every ounce of
    effort they can muster. But I don't think this will translate into further gratuitously
    physical play. The referees will be quick to control the game, and the threat of ejection
    or suspension is too powerful this late in the series.

    Rob Peterson ( After getting shellacked by 33 points in Game 3 of the
    1984 Finals, Bird called his teammates "sissies." What happened in Game 4? We got
    McHale v. Rambis. I don't expect Tyler Hansbrough to clothesline Shane Battier, but I
    also don't expect the Pacers to shy away from the Heat, especially with 18,000-plus
    Pacers fans and one Hall of Fame team president expecting tough basketball.

    Michael Wallace (Heat Index): Expect the Pacers to be a bit more inspired and
    energetic in front of their home crowd in Game 6. Of course, that was to be expected,
    regardless of Bird's provoking his team. Indiana responded well to adversity in Game 2
    and has every reason to do so again now.

    Brian Windhorst (Heat Index): I expect they'll play with aggression and
    desperation. Not just because of what Bird said but because it's an elimination game at
    home. Plus the Heat are shorthanded.

    Fact or Fiction: We'll see two or more flagrant fouls in Game 6.

    Haberstroh: Fiction. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Pacers player retaliate with
    a hard foul and then get tossed early. But after that, I can't imagine the teams would
    risk a key player missing Game 7 or the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals.
    Game 5 wasn't an elimination game, but too much is at stake now to let emotions take

    Mason: Fiction. At least not from the Heat. If the Pacers get desperate, things
    could escalate in a hurry.

    Peterson: Fiction. Expect the refs to try to get things under control early and
    expect them to call a flagrant at the first sign of chicanery. The officials, the teams and
    the league can't afford to let this game get overly physical. Do you think anyone wants
    to see a star suspended for a possible Game 7? If either side is smart, they'll realize
    the best payback comes in the form of a victory, not a welt on the head.

    Wallace: Fiction. Tough, physical play is a part of both of these teams' makeup
    when healthy. But I don't think either is an intentionally dirty squad of cheap-shot artists.
    There's too much at stake in Game 6 and potentially Game 7 for any of the key players
    to risk delivering a line-crossing hard foul. Of course, Lance Stephenson and Juwan
    Howard can have at it any time.

    Windhorst: Fiction. The Heat cannot afford to lose any players. There's also a
    no-nonsense officiating crew that's been sent in, with Marc Davis, Scott Foster and Ken
    Mauer. That group will be quick to respond to any borderline play to set the tone.

    Fact or Fiction: If Danny Granger is hobbled, the Pacers are done.

    Haberstroh: Fact. The game blew open as soon as Granger limped off the court
    in Game 5. Remember, the Heat were up by just three points when Granger made his
    first visit to the locker room, and then the Pacers couldn't score. All in all, the Pacers
    were destroyed without him, being outscored by 29 points in 28 minutes while he sat
    out. Who's going to get buckets if Granger can't?

    Mason: Fact. If Granger isn't 100 percent, the Pacers might still get something
    from his shooting, but the real issue is that he's Indiana's primary LeBron James
    defender. Overmatched though he may be, at least Granger allows Paul George to
    focus on Dwyane Wade. Missing him would cripple the Pacers' ability to keep James
    and Wade out of the paint and increase the stress on Hibbert's help defense.

    Peterson: Fact. In the last two games, Granger's been known more for his
    bark than his statistical bite. His lack of production has been part of the reason the
    Pacers have stumbled in their last two. If he's hobbled and the Heat don't need to
    account for him when on defense and can attack him when they're on offense,
    Granger's a liability, not an asset. And if he can't help, the Pacers will be in trouble.

    Wallace: Fiction. Although that certainly will be the case if both Granger
    (ankle) and David West (knee) are out or significantly limited with injuries they
    sustained in Game 5. One of Indiana's greatest strengths is its depth. The boost of
    playing at home can help the Pacers deal with one of those catalysts being hobbled,
    but not both.

    Windhorst: Fiction. I wouldn't say done. The Pacers have a balanced team
    and a balanced starting five. But let's be honest: He's going to be hobbled. He left
    Game 5 in a walking boot. It's a bad time for their leading scorer to get dinged.

    Fact or Fiction: The Heat will really miss Udonis Haslem.

    Haberstroh: Fact. Putting aside the toughness and leadership value of Haslem for
    the moment, if you look at the numbers...CONTINUE READING AT HEAT INDEX

    HoopSpeak Review:
    Zach Harper: Time to stop beating a past horse or something

    We all seem to miss the good old days.

    Back in the day, you could foul guys hard and it wasn’t a national crisis. NBA players
    were able to settle their differences on the court within the game. Occasionally it
    would get out of hand, but for the most part everything was handled without things
    getting too heated. Elbows were thrown at heads to clear out for a rebound and nobody
    batted an eye… you know… after they ducked out of the way from those human razor
    blades. Punches could be thrown without needing to bring in dozens of pundits that try
    to decide just how much of the season a guy should miss.

    And most of all, you could clothesline a guy in the middle of the NBA Finals to ensure
    the other team that there wouldn’t be anything easy allowed for that series. Check out
    Kevin McHale and Kurt Rambis.

    Can you imagine if that happened today? Would they even finish the game? Would
    Twitter melt down? If this were Ron Artest doing the clotheslining, would we find out
    the National Guard’s response time that evening?

    When we see what happened between Tyler Hansbrough and Dwyane Wade or Udonis
    Haslem and Tyler Hansbrough or Dexter Pittman and Lance Stephenson in Game 5
    between the Pacers and the Heat, a lot of people’s first reaction is to claim these fouls
    aren’t that bad and that people shouldn’t be complaining about them. It’s a badge of
    toughness to not think it’s a big deal because “it didn’t use to be this way.”

    For some reason, this becomes a war of acceptance between the youth of today who
    may be conditioned to be outraged by such “excessive” fouls and the elders who think
    the league and society are going soft. But it’s not really about people being soft or the
    game being tainted by fragility. What used to happen in the 80s and 90s worked for the
    80s and 90s. During the late 70s, they endured the Kermit Washington punch in a time
    when the NBA was barely a slight fraction as popular as the game is today.

    Things used to be called and ruled differently because the business of this league used
    to be on a much smaller scale...CONTINUE READING AT HOOPSPEAK

    140 Characters of (Non-PD) Coverage

    Mike Wells @MikeWellsNBA
    Jared Wade @8pts9secs
    Tim Donahue @TimDonahue8p9s
    Tom Lewis @indycornrows
    Ian Levy @HickoryHigh

    Brian Windhorst @windhorstESPN
    Tom Haberstroh @tomhaberstroh
    Peninsula is Mightier @DavidDwork
    Last edited by avoidingtheclowns; 05-24-2012 at 05:36 PM.
    This is the darkest timeline.

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