King James, Wade and with some clutch plays from Ray Allen, Heat was successful in warding off the challenge from Pacers; but this Pacers is fairly new to the madness of playoffs as well. attempts to take Game 3. Chris Bosh was surprisingly absent and did not rise to the challenge of the hype of Big Three.
Nonetheless, King James showed maturity and camaraderie with undiluted celebration of an assist that lead to Ray Allen planting a neat 3-pointer! Allen did 4 of these! Normally Lebron is emotion-less but Ray’s clutch plays certainly made him smile-sneer-snarl. Like John Shuhmann said in NBA.com that despite the win, at this point in postseason, the Heat can’t be counting on fourth-quarter offense to win them games!
Miami Coach Eric Spoelstra made some changes and took refuge in Heat being the best defensive team in the NBA so “early in the second half on Saturday, Erik Spoelstra had his team initiate its defense in the backcourt, a decision that led to a 61-45 second half and a 99-87 victory for the Heat, giving them a 2-1 series lead. “Eventually this change in tactic, lead to a collapse of Pacers. “They just pressured us,” Stephenson said afterward. “We collapsed. We just turned the ball over and we just never responded”. But more important was what the pressure defense did to the Heat themselves. It got them engaged.
As Spoelstra said, “For the first two games and even for a large part of the first half of this game, it was played in their (Pacers) wheelhouse, on their terms.” Not so in the second half of Game 3. The switch was flipped, and it started with the coach’s decision to start defending in the backcourt. That move could have backfired if the defensive energy wasn’t there or if the Pacers could have executed better. Instead, it was just what the Heat needed to raise their energy level on both ends of the floor. Said Spolstra, “We can’t play this series on their terms. So that was just to get our energy going, to force us to make multiple efforts, and it activated our guys for this game.” As offense and defense are part of a winning formula, Miami Heat displayed both albeit at different times and are ready to take Game 4 as well.