For the past two years, the Indiana Pacers have been the main team to take out the Miami Heat in the eastern conference. Last year, they forced the Heat to seven games before bowing out yet again to the defending champs. Both teams have definitely developed a rivalry, but how can the Pacers take control of the rivalry?
The first thing they have to do is probably the most obvious, and that is to stop the big three in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. These three here score more than 50 percent of their team’s points. They also have the option to score points very quickly and pile points on the board. If Pacers can’t find a way to stop or slow down the big three, the Heat may get ring no. 3.
The second step is to not turn the ball over. Make the Heat play in a halfcourt offense. They feast on turnovers and feed off of fast-break points. The Pacers need to protect the ball and the way to do this is to not be predictable with their passes. The Pacers need to strive off their one-on-one matchups and take smart shots.
The last and what I believe is the difference-maker this year is what Pacers worked so hard for this offseason: improving their bench. There were times last year that the starting five of the Pacers looked exhausted. Last year, the Heat usually kept one of the big three in the game and would thrive off the bench of the Pacers.
The one star would hold the game steady until the other two rested and then the three were on the court together again. The Pacers need someone off the bench to play defense against them or to emerge this year as a sixth man.
In conclusion, with returning star Danny Granger coming back this year and a new and improved bench, the Pacers have even more of a chance to make sure that the Heat’s ring count stays at two.