Pacers doomed by turnovers from the Miami trap

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Pacers had 16 turnovers against Miami Friday night, which the Heat turned into 18 points. That’s one more turnover than the Pacers’ season average of 15. Indiana made plenty of awful decisions – Evan Turner tried to throw a cross-court pass from his chest! – but what gave the Pacers lots of trouble was Miami’s trap on the wing.

As a way to get Paul George open enough to catch a pass, the Pacers will run him off a set of screens at the elbows. George will catch on the wing and look to attack. Usually Roy Hibbert will roll on the backside of the lane, and David West will look to pop open at the top of the key.

But Miami trapped George after he caught the ball, and this completely flustered Indiana.

Here’s the set up with George running off screens from Ian Mahinmi and West.


Chris Andersen is guarding Mahinmi and will be the man to double George.


Norris Cole is going to sink into the lane and basically forget about George Hill, while Ray Allen will slide in to provide back-side support.


And here’s the problem for Indiana. Andersen didn’t come to trap immediately, so George isn’t under immediate pressure. George should be able to exploit Andersen’s misstep, but he has no help.

Mahinmi is passive and allows Ray Allen to guard him in the paint. Meanwhile, the two other guards are just jogging on the weak side even though no Heat defender is paying any attention to them. At least one of them could be spotted up to catch a skip pass from George.


The result is a one-handed pass from George, so he isn’t completely relieved of blame. And I’m not sure who this pass was intended for, as Mahinmi has hidden himself behind Allen. Also, neither Evan Turner nor George Hill has gotten into a spot-up position yet.

The Pacers continued to run this action to get George the ball, and Miami continued to trap. Now replace Mahinmi with Hibbert and Andersen with Udonis Haslem.


Hibbert, like Mahinmi did earlier, has rolled to the weak side, which is the design. But the nearside block is completely vacant. Miami has chosen to play 3-on-4 away from the ball and left the block nearest the ball wide open, but not a single Pacer is anywhere near that opening.

The result was George trying to drive through the double team. He did split the double team, but stumbled and was called for traveling near the basket.

A little over a minute later the Pacers ran the same action, and lo and behold, they made an adjustment! Hibbert rolled down the near block and was wide open. Only a weak-side Ray Allen was in position to defend Hibbert. But George managed to overthrow his 7-foot-2 center.


That’s the ball sailing over Hibbert and into Ray Allen’s hands.

The Heat are going to trap and try to rotate behind it with a smaller lineup. The Miami traps on the pick and roll are the reason West and Luis Scola got open looks in the first and third quarters, respectively.

But Miami is asking to get beat by a cut to the open space and the right pass or two. There should be open shots, but the Pacers turn it over too much, and fail to take advantage of Miami’s high-risk, high-reward defense.

EDIT: I should add that the Pacers run this action for Evan Turner and Lance Stephenson as well. The Heat were less likely to trap either of them, and the next step in the offense was a David West ball screen for a pick and pop.

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