Chris Bosh broke down the Heat's game plan for the Pacers before the Heat's rematch with Indiana on Wednesday. The Heat lost to the Pacers 90-84 last week. The Heat and Pacers play at 7 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena. Here's today's main story on the game in The Herald.
1. GET STOPS
In last week's initial matchup between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Heat jumped out to a 30-19 in the first quarter by forcing turnovers and limiting the Pacers' possessions. The Heat went cold in the second quarter, which allowed the Pacers back into the game, and Indiana then dominated the third quarter. The Pacers shot 64.3 percent from the field and 80 percent (4 of 5) from three-point range in the third period.
"We got stops in the first quarter," Bosh said. "After that first quarter, for the next three quarters, we didn’t get many stops at all, and that didn’t allow us to play in the open court. And against these guys, we don’t want to play against their set defense. They’re the best defense in the league and they’re there for a reason, so playing against the best defensive team in the league, having a healthy dosage of half-court defense, that’s not what we want.
"We want to get stops; we want to put pressure on them."
2. MOVE THE BALL
The Heat started the game 2 of 16 from three-point range, including 0 of 6 in the decisive third frame. By the end of the third quarter, the Heat's main ball handlers were holding the ball in isolation and taking low-percentage shots. LeBron James, Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade combined to go 3 of 10 from the field in the third quarter. Bosh was 3 of 6.
"We stopped doing what was working for us," Bosh said. "We held it a little bit, which is not what we do. We were just going out there and playing basketball. Our drive-and-kick game was pretty good and we went away from that. So, we just want to make sure we keep doing that.
3. LIMIT PAUL GEORGE ON SCREEN AND ROLLS
In the early going, Pacers forward Paul George was thoroughly dominated by LeBron's defense. George was 0 of 4 in the first half with his only two points coming at the free-throw line. But LeBron tired in the second half and George eventually found space to operate. He went 3 of 4 from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range for the 12 points in the third quarter.
"We just have to continue to hold Paul George to as minimal amount of points as possible and just make him take tough shots," Bosh said. "I think we did a good job with that in the first half, but in the second half he got some wide-open looks and that got him going.
"It’s nothing we have to correct. It’s more so stop screen and rolls. [George] didn’t really hurt us off of initial post ups. We made them work a little bit and he hit some tough shots, but most of it was off of screen and rolls. He got in the paint off of those a little bit and when a guy is that big and he’s a moving target, he’s a lot tougher to defend. So, we need to game plan a little better, stop the screen and rolls and keep a body on him."
4. KEEP BODIES ON HIBBERT AND WEST
LeBron called Pacers big men Roy Hibbert and David West a "two-headed monster," and also the biggest challenge for the Heat. It's easy to see why after the first game. Hibbert and West combined to go 16 of 23 from the field. In the fourth quarter, Hibbert, West and Luis Scola were 7 of 12 from the field. The Heat will always be at a disadvantage against the Pacers' size, but remaining consistently physical against Hibbert and West throughout games is key.
"They don’t run anything crazy," Bosh said. "They got a lot off of their side screen and roll, being able to get bodies off of them for a little bit. That way they could duck in and kind of function a little bit more, but we’ll have a game plan for that."
"We’re not where we’re supposed to be right now and it’s going to take a long time to get to that point. That’s how we take it," Bosh said. "We’re going to compete tomorrow. We’re going to try to win the game, but whatever happens, we move on."