A defensive battle was expected between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. Indiana is the NBA leader in fewest points allowed, and Miami is a close fifth. It only made sense that the two contenders in the Eastern Conference would become locked in a low-scoring, blow-for-blow battle.
The Heat started strong, leading 31-19 after the first quarter, but the Pacers locked it down and won the next three quarters, taking the game 90-84. Surprisingly, the champions started the game strong and finished weak. The main culprit to Miami’s downfall? Shooting.
Miami finished the game 33-of-77 from the field and shot 42.9 percent. Indiana was able to shoot 50 percent and out-rebound the Heat by 10. It’s as simple as that — the Heat did not play an entire game or make the proper adjustments throughout the night. Not a single player scored over 17 points for the champs, not even LeBron James or Dwyane Wade.
The loss can’t be blamed on the bench because the reserves played evenly-matched games. The credit must be handed to the starters for both teams. The Pacers’ starters simply beat the Heat starters and outplayed them. I also don’t like the fact that Miami took 21 3-pointers compared to Indiana’s 15. The Heat shot a pathetic 19 percent from behind the arc. It’s not a good sign that they are settling for perimeter shots when they have players who can drive the lane and finish.
Erik Spoelstra and Miami are lucky this isn’t April or the playoffs, because there are many adjustments that they must make. The must improve their shot selection, inside presence and rebounding before their next meeting with Indiana on December 18.