Miami/Indiana Game 5 Recap
By Troy Montigney
May 24, 2012
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers, Game 5
Miami 115, Indiana 83; Miami leads 3-2
What did we see?
The Heat completely eviscerating the Pacers.
For Miami, the shots were falling from all sections of the court. Loose balls all seemed to end up in their hands. They completely manhandled the bigger Pacers on the boards for the second game in a row. In short, even when the score was relatively close heading into the final minutes of the first half, it never felt that close. And it never really was. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade continued their spectacular play from the second half of game five, displaying heightened awareness of where one another were at all times. The only black mark on Wade’s game was an atrocious seven-for-13 performance at the charity stripe. The Heat isn’t going to lose many games when it gets three first quarter three-pointers (and four on the night) from Shane Battier, the same fellow who’s spent the past few seasons doing little more than being charged like the Mud Gate during the Battle of the Blackwater.
What did we learn?
Blood is boiling in this series, and despite having the two best players on the floor the Heat is more prone to losing control of its emotions.
Miami will be without the services of Udonis Haslem for game six and Dexter Pittman (don’t feel bad if you have to look him up) for even longer. The pair was suspended by the NBA Wednesday for committing egregious flagrant fouls against Pacers reserves Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson. Granted I have a dog in this fight, but Hansbrough’s own flagrant was a clear swat at the ball that indirectly followed through into Wade’s brow. Haslem’s was simple retaliation, but Pittman’s tackle-wink combo was a different kind of premeditated beast.
The funny thing is, aside from wannabe alpha dog Danny Granger of the Pacers, most of the fireworks are coming from the nether regions of the teams’ benches. Pittman’s clothes-lining of Stephenson came after the former had played roughly half a quarter in the first four games of the series and the latter decided his Hall of Fame-caliber resume qualified him to make a choke gesture at James in the waning moments of game three. It all followed an absurd incident prior to game four in Indy in which Juwan Howard confronted Stephenson about the same gesture. None of this would be a story except for the humorous fact Howard hasn’t been relevant for six years.
The big questions…
With Udonis Haslem’s recent emergence as the Heat’s third option on offense, how much will his absence in game six hurt the team?
Have the Pacers really earned their newfound reputation as a dirty team?
Or, with apologies to NBA Executive of the Year Larry Bird, are James, Wade and Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra S-O-F-T soft? (See what I did there?)