Monday, May 27, 2013
Haslem opens up lane, Heat take advantage
By Mark Simon
Udonis Haslem's shooting was huge in the Heat's win.
The Miami Heat’s answer to the Indiana Pacers’ performance in the first two games was fairly simple: Just don’t miss any shots in the first half, and don’t let the Pacers make many in the second half.
The Heat took back home-court advantage with a decisive win over the Pacers. Those waiting for the Heat to drop consecutive games will continue to wait. They haven't done so in more than five months.
Let's recap the statistical highlights.
Stat of the Game
The Heat are the first team in NBA history to win five straight playoff road games by double digits.
Only four other teams have done it four straight games.
The most recent of those was another LeBron James team: the 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers.
The last before them were the Tim Duncan-led San Antonio Spurs in 1999.
Unsung star: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem found his sweet spot on the left baseline, as his shooting chart for the game shows. Haslem finished 8-for-9 (the best single-game shooting effort in Heat history), 5-for-6 on shots from 15 feet and beyond. He entered 6-for-19 on those shots this postseason.
Haslem and Chris Bosh were a combined 8-for-11 from that range, including 7-for-9 with Roy Hibbert as the primary defender.
Hibbert noted after the game that he was forced to contest jump shots, leaving the paint free. The Heat shot 70 percent, their best effort of the series, from inside the paint.
Setting the Tone: Heck of a half
The Heat set a playoff franchise record with 70 first-half points.
That was the most points the Pacers have allowed in any half this season. This was the first time a team scored 70 points in the opening half of a playoff game since 2007, when the Golden State Warriors did so against the Utah Jazz.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that it was the first time the Pacers allowed 70 points in any playoff half since yielding 71 to the Boston Celtics in the second half of a playoff game in 1992.
Beyond the box score: James posts-up George
LeBron James went to a different approach in matching up against Paul George in Game 3.
James was 2-for-5 for five points when posting George up in the first two games of the series, but was 5-for-7 for 12 points in the Game 3 win.
James finished 7-for-13 against George for the game. George, who went 10-for-13 in the first two games when guarded by James, was mostly guarded by Dwyane Wade on Sunday, but James held him to 1-for-4 shooting from the field.
Difference-maker: Pacers struggles at the rim
The Pacers went 12-for-17 on shots from inside 5 feet in the first half, allowing them to keep the game close.
But when the Heat pulled away, the Pacers could not score them inside to match. They missed 11 of their 13 second-half shots from inside 5 feet.
Unsung reserve: Andersen’s streak still going
Chris Andersen was 4-for-4 from the field, making him 13-for-13 in the series with only one turnover (and 15 straight makes overall). The rest of the Heat's bench is a combined 10-for-49 from the field against the Pacers.
In best-of-seven playoff series that are tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner goes on to win the series 77.0 percent of the time (151-45).