Welcome to the Devil's Take on Game 4. Unfortunately, there wasn't very much positive to take out of this game. To be blunt, I'm still pissed about this one. So on to the discussion.
Despite early leads of 10 points in the first half, and an 8 point lead at the half, the Pacers fell apart in the second half. Their dominance of the 3rd quarter was shattered, as they would enter brick city and the Heat would score 30 points. This coupled with the return of D-Wade's shooting touch, and the Heat won the game.
Indy Cornrows member Doc627 wrote this fanpost early Sunday morning. Basically, he was asking what do the Pacers need to do to improve upon Game 3 to win Game 4. Here's my response:
To win Game 4
It’s very simple…. play the way we played in Game 3.
1.) STAY OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE
2.) Minimize the stupid turnovers we had early in that game, we allowed Miami back in the game early because of it.
3.) Continue to go inside outside
4.) Feed Granger the ball
Expect the referees to call this game close to the vest. In every playoff series, the 2nd home game always seems to be the game where the refs call it pretty fairly for both teams. Not always the case but in a general sense, is how it usually goes.
So let's address this one at a time.
- The Pacers did a good job of staying out of foul trouble early, but ultimately, they crumbled once they started missing shots. They also continually allowed the Heat to bait them into fouls.
- Turnovers - Worst turnover game for the Pacers in this series. Statistically, it's only the second worse, the first being game 2 of the series for the Pacers. However, the Pacers absolutely KILLED themselves in just about every way manageable with these turnovers. 2 TO's by Psycho T at the rim, a horribly bad inbounds pass, and just very spotty passing throughout.
- This actually wasn't bad by the Pacers until the bigs were shut out due to foul trouble. Still, the second unit worked this fairly well. All in all, a B- on this..
- Once again, I felt like Granger just did not do enough. I'd just like to see Granger carry this team for once, dare I say, Miller-esque?
So all in all, a great start to a game that ultimately came down to turnovers and fouls once more. In fact, in just about every major loss the Pacers have had in the playoffs the last 2 seasons, this has been their Achilles heel. So what do the Pacers do now?
- Get back to what works for you as a team. There was NO defensive intensity in the second half. Only 3 players actually scored points for the Heat in the 2nd half, a 4th would score on FT's only. You have to force them off their game. You CANNOT allow this.
- Turnovers don't have to hurt you, but you can't make bonehead mistakes with half-assed passes and stupid traveling. Easily wiped out opportunities for the Pacers to put more pressure on the Heat. When you have the lead, play with the lead. Bury them, repeatedly.
- Starters are going to have to look at playing more minutes. The 2nd unit played great for the Pacers, but if they expect to weather the storm of what will probably be Miami's last grasp at throwing their weight around, we have to be able to stop them. Make James run ragged, make D-Wade hurt.
The Pacers had this game, and to put it bluntly, the Heat stole one they should never have been in the position to steal. The Pacers need to go back to Miami looking for blood, because someone just called their momma a name. The Heat think they stole this series back, because they think we just cracked. The truth is, Wade was too good a player to be kept down for long. As I said in the last Devil's Take, his injuries are excuses. He's still a top player in this league and if he's playing, there are no excuses. He showed exactly that tonight. The Pacers need to go into Miami and show that crazed animal attack that they had going in Game 2. Rock the boat.
Once again, LeBron James continues to get the benefit of shoddy officiating. Not only did he have a horrible flop acting call in Game 3, he has only 3 fouls called on him this whole series in 4 games. Every other starter for the Heat has at least 7-9 fouls minimum. I'm sick of the star treatment. Call a foul when he fouls someone and quit playing to the "fans" who want to see him.
While I'm mentioning the officiating, the game was called fairly decently. However, see #1 and also the fact the refs clearly missed the offensive "goaltending" call that should have been called on James. While it's a small play, it's still part of their "run" that helped increase their lead. It's also another bit of ammo as to my comment about James getting the "calls".
Coach Vogel has coached really well through all of the playoff games thus far, but tonight's game left me a bit upset with him. I understand the need to get good minutes for your guys to rest, to get minutes where your bigs can play without foul worries, but the Pacers bigs were on the bench TOO long. By the time they got back in, the team as a whole was already on the ropes.
If the Pacers want to win on Tuesday night, they have got to push the ball into West. Make the Heat foul, because quite honestly, I'm sick of watching them hack and not get fouls called. They also have got to do a better job on putting a body in the lane. ENOUGH with LBJ and Wade just strolling into the paint.
As always, here's to looking to the next game, and pulling for a Pacers win. Thanks!