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Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 at 11:20 am  |  41 responses

Post Up: Top Of The East

The Heat win Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals for the third straight year.

Heat 99, Pacers 76 (Heat wins series 4-3)

LeBron James led the Miami Heat to their third straight NBA Finals in a complete blowout of the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 Monday night.

With smothering defense and meticulous offense, James held Paul George to merely 7 points while lead the game in scoring. Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade awakened from their funk and were active on double teams and contributed on offense.

Going into the game, DWade wanted a bigger role on offense. He delivered, scoring 21 points and pulling down 9 boards in his first 20-point outburst since the first round of the Playoffs. Bosh’s stat line didn’t spike like Wade’s (Bosh scored 9 points to go along with 8 rebounds), but his energy was clearly elevated on the offensive glass and on defensive rotations.

After the game, TNT’s Craig Sager asked Wade about the win, “It was about finding a way to win here at home,” said Wade. “Coach did some things and my teammates did some things to loosen me up early and I just kept going.”

At halftime, the Heat led the Pacers by 15 points—not a good sign for Indiana fans. Miami is 7-1 this year in the Playoffs when leading halfway through the game. James had already begun his scoring barrage putting up 18 on 5-9 shooting. The Pacers also struggled to take care of the ball early on, turning the ball over 15 times in the first half.

During the third quarter, things really began to unravel for the Pacers. With 1:48 left to go, Roy Hibbert picked up his fifth foul and Wade slashed to the basket to make it 72-53, giving the Heat their largest lead of the game. That would prove to be a fatal blow to Indiana’s confidence. Paul George would then foul out with 7:43 left to seal the win for the Heat. George left the court congratulating his teammates on a season well done, knowing it was the end.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra cited defense as the main factor in Miami leading the Pacers, “This is the first time we’ve been able to apply consistent defensive pressure.”

Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 18 points and 8 rebounds. West was the second leading scorer with 14 and he also pulled down 6 boards. George Hill put up 13 points and dished out only a single assist. Lance Stephenson was the one orchestrating the offense with a team-high 5 assists, he also added 10 points in the losing effort.

LeBron James put up another legendary stat line, scoring a game-high 32 points, grabbing 8 boards, and dishing out 4 assists while shooting 8-17 from field and 15-16 from the free throw line. Ray Allen was also big off the bench, putting up 10 points on 3-5 shooting from long range.

Paul George ended the series badly in Miami, but he should walk to the visiting locker room with his head held high, knowing that he’s officially arrived on the scene. With his level of play throughout the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s safe to say that George will be around to battle LeBron for a while. George will become eligible for a contract extension this offseason, if nothing is agreed to, he would be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014.

Miami will now look forward to defending their title against the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night. For the Spurs, they should try to emulate the game plan of Pacers head coach Frank Vogel’s book in using their size down low to pound the Heat in the paint. Indiana had the likes of Roy Hibbert and David West to battle with Chris Bosh, but San Antonio will have Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter.

San Antonio has aging veterans that play the game fundamentally, and have won consistently with this core group for the last decade. This just may be their last chance at another title.

Miami has the best player in the world, who just keeps getting better.—Daniel Friedman

Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be played Thursday night. Tip-off begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on ABC. Quotes from this article were pulled from NBA.com and NBA TV’s live stream of each team’s post game press conferences.

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  • Fan of the game

    LeBron’s defense on Paul George was incredible, but to still be that aggressive and produce like he did offensively? Wow. Very few players all time can pull off such high level two-way performances.

  • Swaggie Bee

    Hold up hold u! Meng wad haddnin to Eddie kirby? Meng spolestra hurtin in fwont court. Meng I’m ride wid homee. Sign me Riley meng I shine like Riley meng. Swag not watch it shook.

    Class 2032. P schoo spitta kindeegarten steppa

    Norris @ pg
    M the bayr Alee @ sg
    Salay @ sf
    Fawooq @ pf
    The swagie b @ C but rwally 1-5

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    What in thee F*CK was this abomination?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    San Antonio has beat a 7 seed, 6 seed, and 5 seed to get to the finals. And they had issues with that 6 seed.
    .
    I don’t think they are winning more than 2 games in this series.

  • Max

    Swag language.
    Swaguage.

  • RayJr

    My first instinct says Spurs in 5, but I have been wrong all playoffs so Heat in 6.

  • Dagger

    How would you evaluate the matchups? Not to take anything away from their execution, talent and experience, but I feel that the Spurs beat a couple imbalanced teams by packing the paint. Of course they couldn’t do that against the Warriors and they won’t get away with it against the Heat. I agree with your prediction.

  • Intellectual

    I know what kind of stereotype you are. Don’t look down upon Ebonics or any type of colloquy. Linguistic analysis will show how all languages are equal.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    If that’s how you want to justify it…sure.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I thought you had the Spurs in 6? I agree with you I feel the Heat will win it all but just wondering why the change of heart?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Trademark approved

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    You are mistaking me with Caboose

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Stupidity. Linguistic analysis of that above comment will show the author wrote it with stupidity. Why? Because that isn’t a language. That’s nonsense. Not Ebonics.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Ahh that’s right my mistake.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    This is an open question but I’m curious would Pop be wise to not follow the Pacers strategy of going big? I personally feel that having Diaw/TD is much more effective to start the game that way when Birdman comes off the bench they can bring in Tiago to contend with him in the paint.

  • LakeShow

    They NEED to go big.
    They can go small occasionally, but their main goal should be to beat the hell outta Miami in the post.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    I thought that too intitially until I remembered what happened to OKC last year. Battier torched Ibaka constantly and he’s leaps and bounds ahead of Tiago athletically. From a rebounding perspective I agree you go big but defensively it might be a disadvantage.

  • LakeShow

    OKC didn’t have a choice.
    They knew Perkins wasn’t going to dominate the post against anyone.
    They knew Serge is a jump shooter.
    They went small to try to compete.
    The Spurs can dominate the post with Timmy, and Tiago. And they should definitely do that.

    My guess is Spurs in 7, but who know’s.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    Good prediction. This one is hard to call for me. I said Spurs in 7 as well but I’m not so sure. When the Heat amp up the defensive pressure the other team is in trouble. Oh yea and they have LeBron.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    And according to him I’m the stereotype lol

  • JoeMaMa

    Miami really went out of their way to establish Wade and Bosh – the entire first quarter was devoted to that. Wade came through. And Bosh certainly didn’t. He shot poorly and made bad decisions. I thought it was hilarious that he hit a 3 and then basically got smacked by West as he wildly celebrated, resulting in a West dunk. If I’m the Heat, I try to get Bosh his touches again in game 1, but if he’s doing the same thing as he did in the Indy series, sit him on the bench.

    I guess this is what happens when you put Lebron and Wade with a former Raptor who got them to the first round twice.

  • Max

    That was such a silly flop.

  • RayJr

    Caboose would say Spurs in 1 if that was possible.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    hmm, well, i don’t generally look at the “matchups” player vs player, it’s a series, adjustments are the key. with that being said, here we go.
    .
    Best Player – Advantage Heat. As many of you know, I normally bet on the team with the best player in a series. Assuming both teams are healthy, and each team gets to follow their gameplan. Well, LeBron is by far the best player in this series. So immediately, Miami has the most important advantage.
    Coaching – Advantage Spurs. Popovich is the bees knees. He’s the best there is doing it. BUT, the advantage is not as pronounced as one would assume. Spoelstra has turned into a very good coach. And he’s top 5 with in-game adjustments, only guys who are clearly better are Popovich and Rivers.
    .
    Consistent Offensive Execution – Advantage Spurs. Their system is plain better. No defensive system is going to be able to do much but slow down that offense. While Miami’s system is still very complex, it is possible to force them into a different offensive direction (game 6 in Indiana for example)
    .
    Defensive Flexibility – Advantage Heat. They are going to be able to defend every single one of the lineups San Antonio puts on the floor. Their isn’t a glaring mismatch at any position. Duncan is the closest thing to a clear offensive mismatch for San Antonio, but I don’t think he has it in him to win a series with his offense. As I’ve said before, this is by far the toughest defense that Tony Parker has had to go up against. Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole is by far the best, most well suited combination of defensive PG’s that Parker has faced.
    .
    Ability to make a run – Wash. Both teams are going to be capable of huge runs. No lead in this series is safe
    .
    Lineup Flexibility – Advantage Heat. They can run a big lineup, a small lineup, a fast lineup, and any other type of lineup you can think of. They can put out 5 shooters. They can put out 5 top flight defenders. The Heat will be able to mix and match against every single combination of player’s the Spurs put on the court. And this aspect of the series is to me, what really puts things in the Heats corner. As the series goes on, Spoelstra will be able to identify and counter against San Antonio’s most effective lineups without the Spurs being able to do much about it.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Intellectual read about an idea, and just ran with it. Probably says that everywhere he sees someone use their own version of words on the internet.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/savagemuzicgroup T-Ray

    He sounds more delusional than Paul Mooney trying to give “facts” of racial history during a comic routine.

  • spit hot fiyah

    they also went a combined 8-0 against the 7 and 6 seed. they did have some issues with GS for sure, but pop really managed to adapt to the problems GS presented. i give the spurs the edge because of their bench. if wade and bosh keep on playing like they did against indy i think it could be over soon.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    No they went 8-0 against the 7 and 5 seed. The only team they played with a star player and a well rounded supporting cast was Golden State.
    .
    Golden State wouldn’t win a damn game against Miami.
    .
    And you really didn’t think that Chris Bosh / Dwyane Wade thing through did you? Indiana was the best defense in the league. That was the worst offensive performance you will see from them last series. The Spurs are not nearly as good on that end.

  • spit hot fiyah

    sorry meant 5, i know GS was 6

  • spit hot fiyah

    bosh averaging less than four rebounds over the first 6 games ids not entirely a function of indiana’s defense, neither is wade missing a bunch of layups and looking like his legs are burnt. i give indiana credit but i don’t think that those problems will completely disappear just because indiana did. the spurs also present some new problems which indiana didn’t

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    It pretty much is a function of Indiana’s system. Their whole focus is rebounding. San Antonio, in a round about way, has the opposite philosophy.
    .
    Wade presumably will be better in this series strictly because SA lacks the size and strength Indiana had.
    .
    San Antonio brings a whole different suite of problems. But those don’t come from their defense.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i don’t see indiana’s system as an excuse for bosh not rebounding. offensively he is just hanging out on the outside, but defensively he doesn’t have an excuse, it’s not like he was guarding hibbert, west, handbrough and mahimni on the perimiter, he was close to the basket.

    i agree that the problems that san antonio present are on the offensive end, which will still affect miami offensively since it will require energy to defend all the spurs, no sam youngs that u can just ignore on the defensive end.

    sure we can presume things about wade, but his decline could also continue, if he shows up every third game then i don’t think they have chance. if he play like he did in game 7 then it’s a different story. he just hasn’t been able to play like that consistently in the whole playoffs. so i don’t see a reason to believe he will start doing that now

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Offensively….Bosh’s own system keeps him from being relevant as a rebounder. Especially with Roy Hibbert guarding him.
    .
    Here i’ll break down why Bosh couldn’t rebound on the defensive end quickly and simply
    - Bosh was guarding either David West or Roy Hibbert. Guys he weighs 20+lbs less than
    - And Bosh (and all of Miami) was fronting the post
    .
    Think about it. Rebounding is about position. If you are fronting the post, you are giving up rebounding position. And it’s pretty damn hard to get that position back when the two guys you are fighting for position against, are much stronger than you.

  • spit hot fiyah

    so does he add that weight when he has to try to get position against splitter and duncan?

    i get what u are saying, 4 a game is pathetic though, joel anthony came in and looked like mutombo 2001 compared to bosh.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    well i don’t think he’s going to front the post against the Spurs. He’ll probably grab like 7RPG.
    .
    I’m not saying Bosh is a great rebounder, or even good. But there are reasons he was so awful against the Pacers that were out of his control.

  • Max

    ‘Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole is by far the best, most well suited combination of defensive PG’s that Parker has faced.’
    How about Mike Conley and Tony Allen?
    TA got torched by Parker in the closeout game.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    in theory and on paper the Grizzlies back court is better. But they played off of Parker, didn’t pressure him full court, and let him use screens to initiate offense. They didn’t even try and make him uncomfortable, it’s like they said, “well will get beat, so we better just try and contain him” rather than try and knock him off of his game.

  • Max

    Can’t say much about that, good point.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    just for clarification purposes, i’m not calling Miami’s back court better defensively in general. But better suited for Parker. Especially Norris Cole.

  • Max

    Yea I know what you mean.

  • Feez_22

    Nice. i like that you pointed out lineup flexibility as well. this gets overshadowed due to some people believing the heat’s depth & specialty lineups isn’t that great but the heat’s depth is one of the main reasons they beat the pacers with bosh/wade struggling most of the series. Great points :)

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