Who saw this coming?
Easy answer: No one.
The Indiana Pacers, perhaps the most nondescript team remaining in the NBA playoffs, has made the biggest noise. They pulled out a win in Miami in Game 2 and Thursday night in Game 3 at home they smacked around the Heat as if they had no business on the floor, taking a 2-1 series lead.
Indiana’s 94-75 showed as much about what’s right with the Pacers and what’s wrong with Miami. But let’s start with the Heat, which was so handled by the Pacers that coach Erik Spolestra and superstar guard Dwyane Wade had a heated third-quarter exchange that will be discussed, pondered and viewed repeated unit Game 4.
Wade was awful, going scoreless in the first half and got only five after the break. He was 2-for-13 shooting with five turnovers in 36 minutes. Not Wade-like.
”It’s obvious he wasn’t himself.” LeBron James (22 points, six in second half) said of Wade. ”Does he want to play better? Of course. He’s one of the best players in the world.”
”That happens,” Spoelstra said. ”Anybody that has been part of a team or has been a coach or been a player, you have no idea how often things like that happen. That was during a very emotional part of the game. We were getting our butt kicked. Those exchanges happen all the time during the course of an NBA season.
”There’s going to be a lot of times where guys say something, you don’t like it. You get over it and you move on. We’re all connected. Dwyane and I have been together for a long time, a long time. We’ve been through basically everything. A lot of different roles, a lot of different teams. That really is nothing. That is the least of our concern. That type of fire, shoot, that’s good. That’s the least of our concerns. Our concern is getting for Sunday.”
Wade would not discuss his dispute with Spoelstra.
Indiana outscored Miami 51-32 in the second half and never looked back. George Hill had 20 points for the Pacers and center Roy Hibbert rang up 19 and 18 rebounds.