LeBron's shooting and scoring were fine. But when it takes until late in the third quarter to register his first assist, then you know James isn't having his 'A' game. Paul George neutralized James for the second straight game, and Indiana's physical play was a nuisance on a night when James could have used more help from his largely silent teammates.
Lance Stephenson outplayed Wade for major stretches of this game. That's simply unacceptable under any circumstances. Yes, the Pacers' perimeter length and interior toughness are problematic, but it seemed Wade was either disinterested or a decoy in the game plan after playing with far more aggressiveness the past two weeks. He simply waited too long to get going.
Bosh came up extremely small against an opponent that absolutely requires him to bring his big-man game. What the Heat got were barely a handful of rebounds and weak play on both ends around the basket. On top of that, Bosh allowed his emotions to get away from him, and he essentially checked out mentally after picking up a technical foul midway through the game.
As outlandish as it might seem, the Heat are better off starting the Birdman alongside Chris Bosh. Basically signed off the street and now on his second 10-day contract, Andersen's energy and ability to finish around the rim stand out with Miami getting very little of either from other "bigs" on the roster. Andersen has distinguished himself while getting into shape.
Earlier this month, it was Paul George who doomed the Heat. This time, it was David West, who dominated the Heat from the outset of the game. West is still fuming from last season's playoff loss to Miami and insists the Pacers are prepared to punish the Heat when they go small. It didn't matter who defended West on Friday. The Heat didn't have an answer.