I’m just glad I’m not one of those people that proclaimed this series over at 2-1.
Lebron James showed why he was the MVP today with a dominating 40-18-9 stat line as the Heat vaporized a 10-point Pacers lead in the thrid quarter to take game 4, 101-93. D-Wade wasn’t bad either, shaking off a poor start to finish with 30 points. And just like that, the momentum has shifted back in Miami’s favor, just as Pacers coach Frank Vogel warned after the ecstatic game 3 victory.
Make no mistake, the Heat are back in control, if only because that means the Pacers have to win once more on the Heat’s home floor. Not to say it can’t be done, of course. Just as it was unlikely for Lebron and Wade to continue having off games, it is almost equally unlikely for them to replicate this kind of performance again. And let’s not forget, despite the two of them going off for 70 of the team’s 101 points, the Pacers only lost by 8. Plus it was the first time in these playoffs they gave up 100 points to an opponent.
The Pacers did what they could, but foul trouble to Hibbert and West put the team in a hole they could not recover from. Once Lebron and Wade got going I just knew it was going to be a long night (here comes the refereeing conspiracy theories).
Granger had 20 points, Hibbert had 10, 9 and 3 blocks, Paul George had 13, 6, 5 and 3 steals, and Darren Collison was a spark plug off the bench with 16 points on 6-7 shooting in 20 minutes. But George Hill, who had just 8 points on 2-9 shooting, was the only Pacer with a positive plus-minus (+5).
- The NBA has really become a league of exaggeration. The amount of overhyping after a single game is getting out of control because of how easy it is to express an opinion online (yes, I am included in that conversation). Before even a single game was played in this series the Pacers were either going to be sweep fodder or a tough but easily outclassed opponent. When they won game 2 it was suddenly anyone’s series. When they won game 3 it was ‘OVER’ (how any series can be over at 2-1 is beyond me). When Lebron missed a free throw he became the biggest choke artist of all time. And now, with his video game-like performance in game 4, the Miami Heat are suddenly the favorites again. This is just stupid. All of it.
- Case in point: the assertion that D-Wade played like crap in game 3 because he was “injured.” Give me a freaking break. Wade had his worst playoff performance in game 3 with just 5 points on 2-13 shooting, prompting Miami apologists to announce that Wade was “playing on one leg.” He was not playing on one leg. He was not playing on one leg in games 1 or 2, and all of a sudden he’s barely even walking? And he just proved in game 4 that it was, as usual, blown completely out of proportion. It’s very annoying if you ask me.
- Lance Stephenson, who made naughty headlines again with his choke sign for Lebron’s missed technical free throw in game 3, had a “confrontration” with Heat forward Juwan Howard before the game when Howard walked over the Pacers side during shootaround. Hilarious. Although he apologized for the gesture in yesterday’s press conference, it was obvious that Lance, who may have made some strides in growing up, is still a punk-ass kid who was forced by the team to make the apology. People ridiculed him, a benchwarmer, for making such a disrespectful gesture towards the 3-time MVP, but to me, the fact that people took him so seriously was what was so funny about it. And for fellow benchwarmer Howard, who is a washed up ringchaser who hasn’t gotten any minutes at all, to confront Stephenson on the Pacers’ side of the court, is just as hilarious. Two guys no one cares about going at each other because they have nothing better to do.
- Granger got another tech for stepping in Wade’s face after the latter slapped Hibbert’s arm away after a hard foul late in the half. Danny, you gotta let it go. I like the never-back-down attitude and all, but overdoing it comes off as nothing more than being obnoxious. He was toeing that line tonight. Make your play do the talking next game.
- I may dislike Lebron for his flopping and self-entitled attitude and the way he took his talents to South Beach, but I am not one of those people that discounts all the great things he has done in his career. You’re just not facing reality if you don’t realize what a great player he is. He has choked, sure, but he has also stepped up in big games multiple times. You just have to look it up. And all this ringless talk is dumb too, because that’s all they’ve got to downplay his career at this stage. Still, I don’t want him to win. At least not this series anyway.
The Pacers head back to Miami in game 5 with a lot of questions. They must feel like they let this one slip away after being up 61-51, but then again, they must feel confident that it took this kind of outworldly performance by Lebron and Wade to beat them. And it wasn’t even a blowout or anything embarrassing (like I would have expected).
So just like those idiots who said it was over for Miami after game 3, it’s just as dangerous to proclaim the Pacers done after game 4. I’ve questioned the Pacers’ resiliency all year, and it’s time for them to prove me wrong again.