Panic abounds in Miami today as the Heat went down two games to one in their second-round series with the Indiana Pacers after suffering a blowout loss. Dwyane Wade suffered his worst game of the season, missing 11 of his 13 shots taken and finishing with five points. The Heat went through stretches where they looked tentative on offense, unable to get anything going. Defensively, they had no one to match up to the size of the Pacers’ Roy Hibbert, who finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds.
This was the Heat’s first full game without Chris Bosh, the much-maligned third banana in the Heat’s big three. Who’d have thought his presence was so integral to the Heat’s success?
Dwyane Wade had his worst game of the season last night, and his worst game since — interestingly — November 22, 2010, against the Indiana Pacers, in which Wade went 1-of-13 from the field and finished with three points. The Heat lost that game as well.
The underrated aspect that Bosh brought to the Heat was size. Without Bosh, Miami has exactly one player on the roster taller than 6′9″ — and it’s Dexter Pittman, who probably has no business being on an NBA roster. Bosh, at the very least, gave the Heat a competent big man who could play on offense and defense in the post against other bigs. On the other side of the court, the Pacers trotted out only one starter shorter than 6′8″. You could see the contrast in styles last night: when the Heat got out on the fast break, they were hard to stop. When the Pacers could get back, set up their defense, use their size to clog penetration lanes for the Heat’s talented wing players, Miami struggled.
While many thought that Chris Bosh was basically an afterthought on this Heat team, we’re going to find out if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and a bunch of guys who would struggle for playing time on other playoff teams will be able to gut it out against a good Pacers team.