MIAMI, FL - MAY 22: Larry Bird, President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers looks on during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on May 22, 2012 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Indiana Pacers endured another flurry of furious play from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The pair "only" combined for 58 points in their Game 5 win but that was all they needed to put the game on ice in the third quarter.
Following the game, Larry Bird dropped some hard words on his team, telling Mike Wells the Pacers went soft.
"I can't believe my team went soft," Bird said on the phone. "S-O-F-T. I'm disappointed. I never thought it would happen."
In a game with some hard fouls ranging from vicious to moronic, I'm sure Bird was more exercised by how mentally soft his team went as opposed to physically soft. The Pacers were simply pushed out of their comfort zone by the Heat. You could see it from the opening tip, the Pacers just weren't sharp and were careless with the ball. The execution on offense was weak and the effort to execute (meh, I'll just fire a three...) even weaker. Once again, the Pacers were crushed on the boards (49-35) which helped fuel Miami outscoring the Pacers in fast break points 22-2.
Forget the flagrant fouls and trash talking, this is about taking care of business in a grown man's playoff game on the road. That takes some mature, mental toughness and the Pacers didn't have it. Things were too easy for the Heat.
Now the Pacers have one life left in their post-season run. Assuming David West and Danny Granger are ready to go, I'd expect a much stronger all-around effort in Game 6 on Thursday. Bird just demanded it.
Check out the links after the jump.
- Box score: Heat 115, Pacers 83
- Rewind: Game 5 Pacers at Heat 120522 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
- Pacers: Bird calls his team S-O-F-T | Pacers Insider | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com
- When Danny Granger goes down, so do Pacers' chances | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Bob Kravitz: Pacers' blowout loss to Heat has team facing elimination | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers notebook: Associate coach Brian Shaw won't interview for head coaching jobs yet | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers-Heat series takes a turn toward the physical - fox59.com
- James and Wade lead Heat past Pacers, 115-83 - AP
- Miami Heat shows it can get physical in win over Pacers - Greg Cote - MiamiHerald.com
- Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers provide another blood feud - Linda Robertson - MiamiHerald.com
- Daily Dime - ESPN - Punishment Coming For Rough Plays?
- Larry Bird calls Pacers "soft" after blowout loss to Heat | ProBasketballTalk
- From promise to panic - Heat Index Blog - ESPN
- Miami Heat, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade take on Indiana Pacers, David West, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert. - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
- Heat beat down Pacers 115-83 with a balanced attack for 3-2 series lead - Peninsula is Mightier
- Post-Game Grades: Pacers Get Blown Out in a Pivotal Game 5 that Gets Out of Hand | Eight Points, Nine Seconds
- Commentary: Miami Heat puts hurt on Indiana Pacers all day, all nightCommentary: Miami Heat puts hurt on Indiana Pacers all day, all night
- Indiana Pacers feel the pain of loss against Miami Heat - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.comIndiana Pacers feel the pain of loss against Miami Heat - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com
- Suspensions coming for flagrant fouls in Heat-Pacers Game 5? - CBSSports.com
- Miami Heat defense leads to big win over Indiana Pacers in Game 5 - Zach Lowe - SI.com
- Dexter Pittman’s elbow to Lance Stephenson’s throat is just one of three nasty hits in Miami/Indiana’s Game 5 (VIDEO) | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
- Physical Play In Series Turns Flagrant " NBA.com | Hang Time Blog
- Video: Heat’s two flagrant fouls courtesy Haslem, Pittman | ProBasketballTalk