The Pacers wanted home court advantage and subsequently lost it.
The Pacers took a dominant lead in the first quarter and subsequently lost it, turning over the ball and giving the Heat every chance to take control of the game. And if you give the defending champions an inch, Miami will likely take it.
More dialed in on defense, the Heat swarmed and got out on the fast break for what seemed like the first time this series. This was a game played at the Heat’s more break-neck pace. It enabled Dwyane Wade to get into a rhythm through his drives and forays into the paint. He scored 23 points and darted into the lane while balancing it out with a couple 3-pointers.
LeBron James’ overall brilliance — 26 points and seven assists — carried Miami throughout. Then came Ray Allen’s finish. He hit four 3-pointers in the final quarter, propelling the Heat to the 99-87 Game Three victory.
The Pacers did not help themselves, committing 19 turnovers leading to 26 Heat points. They abandoned their pursuit of the paint in the face of the Heat’s swarming, trapping defense. Indiana had just 38 points in the paint despite the sizeable advantage it had early on in the game going to Roy Hibbert and David West and Luis Scola. They seemed to disappear from the pressure.
That is something Indiana should have had solved. Certainly it seemed like the team had some of it figured out in the two games in Indiana. On the road, things are a bit tougher and the Pacers will have to dig deep now to get back homecourt advantage. It is going to take 48 minutes to dethrone the champs.