Miami took it to the Pacers in a blowout victory last night and seemed to take out a little frustration in the process. After Game 3, the media (including yours truly) went to town questioning the Heat’s ability to gut it out against a physical Pacers team. Well, the Heat are back on track, one game from putting the Pacers away, and their two megastars are firing on all cylinders.
The role players on the Heat put on a pretty tough facade in Game 5, with a few flagrant fouls as well. Udonis Haslem put the hammer down on Tyler Hansborough, perhaps as payback for the head injury Haslem sustained in Game 4 and/or as payback for the flagrant that Hansborough levied on Dwyane Wade just seconds earlier.
There’s a fine line between playing tough, protecting your stars, and taking cheap shots. The Heat took some cheap shots in Game 5. If they survive the Pacers and meet the Celtics in the Eastern Finals, they might find out what that difference is.