"Cornrows was right. When I bring it, we win."
(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
In his post game interview, Mike Dunleavy mentioned that since the Pacers continued to work through the tough losses and poor shooting, maybe the basketball gods rewarded them a little bit against the Heat. Sounds like a plausible explanation to me since the Pacers' 95-70 W defies logic. The mere fact that Dunleavy was being interviewed after the game, an honor normally reserved for a key player, tells you just how well the game went for the Pacers. Here's a few highlights.
- The Pacers outscored the Heat 33-9 in the first quarter with shots raining in from the outside, inside, left side, right side. Meanwhile the Heat weren't even lukewarm as the Pacers held them to several one shot (missed shot) trips.
- I've been focusing on the play of Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy lately since their offensive production is the key to any Pacers' success. Well, they both gave a game's worth of offense in the first half and really set the tone for the easy win.
- Dunleavy came out smokin' with 18 of his 20 points in the first half.
- Granger found his missing aggressiveness on offense, taking the ball to the hole and forcing the Heat to defend him. He also found his shooting range, hitting a couple of 3-balls to finish with 22 points.
- The Pacers were up 39-9 with 10:41 left in the second quarter. Game over? Both Shaq and J.O. were on the bench and I thought it would be nice if neither returned. But, this is the NBA and these are the Pacers. In less than three minutes, the Heat had the lead down to 19 at 41-22. Dunleavy missed a couple of shots and you could sense the negative vibes moving closer to the court. A Murphy steal that led to a Foster layup at the other end stopped the Heat surge and the Pacers defense kept the deficit at twenty after two. The Heat did close the gap to 15 in the third quarter but that was as close as they'd get.
- The Heat didn't shoot well but you also have to give credit to the Pacers defense and rebounding. The Heat missed 54 FGs and 9 FTs but only collected 11 offensive rebounds.
- The Knicks and Nets lost while the Magic won, so the Magic and Pacers move into the last two playoff slots as of tonight.
- The Chicago Bulls come to the Fieldhouse for the Pacers next game on Sunday afternoon.