Foul trouble threw the Pacers into some strange rotations, but they did foul a lot to put themselves in that position. But as LeBron James and the Heat battled back in the second half, the body language of the Pacers revealed anything but winning. There was plenty of frustration and it simply took the requisite fight out of the Pacers when they needed it most. It is surprising they didn't get their doors blown off.
That's the good news, heading into Game 2. The Pacers have tangible, correctable areas to improve to attack the Heat, especially now that Miami is missing Chris Bosh. But the Pacers have to do it together. Whether it is moving the ball on offense, or helping the helper on defense. The Pacers find success as a unit, not a group of individuals.
That's why it was disappointing to hear some post-game comments from Paul George and Danny Granger include more "I" and "me" than "we."
"People criticize me for not being aggressive, it's hard to be aggressive when I'm not touching the ball," George said.
"I have to play in the system of the offense, in the rhythm of the offense," Granger said. "I can't just catch the ball and hoist up shots. I think it's on all of us. The coaching staff, myself, we have to find ways to get me involved."
This isn't to pile on PG and Granger, but to point out that the team as a whole moved away from what they do together to succeed. Sharing the ball often leads to sharing the glory after wins since in the end it isn't about which players are getting their shots, but if the team as a whole is executing to get good shots, period.
So when things get tough, don't complain about what is causing you problems. Keep fighting and get your teammates involved and find a way to make some plays whether for yourself or others. Against the Miami Heat, making that happen will take a much better effort from everyone wearing blue and gold.