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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Miami’s big three too much for Pacers

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The Miami Heat lost a tough game at Boston this past Sunday and flew directly to Indianapolis afterwards for what would amount to almost 48 hours of rest between games. As you might imagine, that rest combined with the chip on their shoulder from the loss to the Celtics on national television, did not bode well for the Pacers. The Heat came out guns a blazing thanks to a phenomenal first quarter by Dwyane Wade, who dropped an insane 24 points on Indiana as the Heat stretched their lead to 41-19 at the end of the first period. The Pacers would show grit in the second quarter and with Wade cooling off a bit and scoring just seven points, Indiana outscored the South Beach Brigade by a count of 35-17 to trail at halftime by just six.

The third quarter was another good one for the home team as they again outscored Miami to take a one point lead in to the final stanza. But the fourth quarter would belong to Lebron James and Chris Bosh, with James getting ten of his 27 points and Bosh adding nine of his 22, and the Heat flexed their muscles down the stretch to put away the spirited, yet woefully overmatched Pacers, who were led by the 18 points of Roy Hibbert.

Notes: It took 16 points by Wade in the first five minutes of the game for Pacers coach Frank Vogel to figure out Mike Dunleavy could not guard him. For the record, nobody could have guarded Wade, who also pulled down a game high 12 rebounds for good measure. Regardless, Vogel should have made a defensive switch earlier. The Heat shot 70.8 percent from the field in the opening quarter and out rebounded Indiana 15-6.

Point guard Darren Collison struggled from the floor hitting just one of his eleven field goal attempts. The Pacers shot just 41.9 percent from the field and were shut down big time in the final quarter by the Heat defense.

Wade, James, and Bosh combined for 90 of the 110 Miami points

Heat forward Mike Miller was taken to Methodist Hospital after the game as a result of a blow to the head. This marks the third time in the last three games that Miller has sustained a hit to the head. With most of the concussion debate centering around the NFL of late, Miller’s situation is a stark reminder that the NBA has the same potential issue on it’s hands every night. Miller is one of the nicest guys you will ever speak to and lets hope he will be feeling better soon.

Seeing him transported out in a wheel chair was a sight I truly regret.

While I was a supporter of Jim O’Brien, it is not the reason I am saying what follows. It is high time Roy Hibbert quits blaming him for all of his problems on the court this year. Hibbert is a hard working, intelligent, young man, but it is time to let it go. It is one thing to answer a direct question about it, but it is unacceptable to start the redundant dialogue over and over with the media.

If Hibbert is indeed the center of the future for this franchise, it is time for him to show the mental toughness he will need to succeed in the NBA.

I still say O’Brien’s tough approach had a big hand in Hibbert’s development, and now it’s time for the maturation process to kick in for this young man and do his talking on the court. If he cannot do that, he will never make in this league. This team needs him badly, and he is letting the organization down by not concentrating on the matters at hand and letting go of the past.

The Pacers travel to Detroit tonight to play the Pistons in their last game before the NBA All Star game. You can watch the game at 7:30 on Fox Sports Midwest or listen to the radio broadcast on WIBC 93.1.

Danny Bridges, who feels the jury is still out on the Pacers until they beat a legit playoff team, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at [email protected].

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