Tuesday, February 14, 2012
3-on-3 debate: Heat topple Pacers again
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
LeBron James and the Heat rolled again, blitzing the Pacers to sweep the back-to-back-to-back.
Three up, three down. After beating the Pacers by 35 points earlier this season, the Heat blew out the Pacers again on Tuesday, this time by a margin of 15 points. The Heat became the first team in decades to win by double-digits in three consecutive nights.
The Heat get the day off on Thursday before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio.
What went well for the Heat? What didn't go well? What do we still have to learn?
In another installment of Heat Index's 3-on-3 series, our writers give their takes on Miami's 23rd win of the season.
1. What is the biggest positive takeaway from the Heat's win?
Tom Haberstroh: The defense is back. Perhaps the drubbing in Orlando was a wake-up call. The gaudy win margins don't do the Heat defense justice. It took some time, but the Heat are looking like the top five defense from a year ago. Oh, and good on Norris Cole for putting up a career-high 20 points in front of his hometown fans.
Michael Wallace: WoW. That is all. Well, that and start the playoffs already, won't you?
Brian Windhorst: The Heat are playing with remarkable focus at both ends. Their execution level has been outstanding during the current four-game win streak. It's just February, so keep it in perspective, but it's still impressive.
2. What is the biggest concern from the Heat's win?
Haberstroh: Easy: Mario Chalmers' hand. The Heat will be cautious, but it must be nice to have a gazillion ball-handlers on the team.
Wallace: That hand injury seems to be very serious for Mario Chalmers. He banged up his left hand again midway through Tuesday's game and did not return. The rest will help, but it's still encouraging that it's the only injury issue the Heat emerged with from that daunting slate.
Windhorst: Mario Chalmers re-injured hand because it is the position where the Heat have the least amount of depth. He was in quite a bit of pain after banging it during the third quarter.
3. What is the biggest question going forward for the Heat?
Haberstroh: Will the Heat pick up an extra point guard off the scrap heap if Mario Chalmers needs to miss some time? Maybe they can find their very own Jeremy Lin.
Wallace: Could the NBA consider rescheduling Friday's game in Cleveland for Wednesday night? Forget those concerns about the Heat's physical condition after three games in as many nights. Now, my only question is why even bother allowing some time off to possibly disrupt Miami's remarkable rhythm right now?
Windhorst: How competitive would a second-round playoff series between the Heat and Pacers be? It's quite possible, even with the Pacers' recent struggles. The Heat have crushed them both times they've met this season.