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The Miami Heat fell to their 2nd consecutive defeat in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, clearly not getting over the absence of Chirs Bosh, and being outdone by an Indiana Pacers team that score points on a collective and cohesive effort. In the other game of the night, the San Antonio Spurs made their intentions of winning the NBA ring quite clear by giving a commanding performance against the LA Clippers. Veteran coach Gregg Popovich was tactically on the money in this game and the implementation from the Spurs team was simply superb as they took a 2 - 0 lead in their series against the Clippers.
Miami Heat 75 - 94 Indiana Pacers
In the physical absence of Chris Bosh and the mental absence of Dwayne Wade, the Miami Heat relied on Lebron James to get their home advantage back from the Indiana Pacers, but instead the home team dominated on both ends of the court to take a 2-1 lead in their series with a mammoth 19 point win. Things were not going the Wade way would definitely be an unterstatement, as far as Miami was concerned. The star player had no points in the first half and managed 5 points in his 36 minutes on the floor, a ridiculous return for someone of his quality. Mario Charmers and Lebron James, both notched 20+ points, but otherwise the Heat were simply downtrodden and defeated in Game 3.
Indiana on the other hand was led by different players in different periods of the game, with all star centre Roy Hibbert being the most dominant of the lot. He had a fantastic night which saw him score 19 points and collect 18 rebounds for his team. Danny Granger, David West and George Hill were all in double figures, as one expects them to be, if they are to beat the Miami Heat. If the balance and depth of the Pacers was the cause of their victory, the absence of those qualities in the Heat was the cause of their defeat. It was a victory of a team over a string of individuals who found it extremely difficult to put together a team effort. The manner of the victory clearly epitomises that Miami are hurting in the absence of Bosh, who seem to have given them so much more than just balance on the floor.
Miami will have to find a way to integrate as a team and fill the gap left by Bosh. They cannot rely on the individual brilliance of their two remaining star players and require performances from the bench to back up the likes James and Wade. The Pacers are looking unlikely favourites to win this series but one can expect the unexpected when you are taking on the likes of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
LA Clippers 88 - 105 San Antonio Spurs
Outscoring their opponents in all but one of the four quarters in Game 2, the Spurs managed a comfortable 17 point win over their visiting opponents to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Tony Parker, celebrating his 30th birthday on the night, notched up a game high 22 points after having a slow opening in Game 1. Spurs kept both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to a combined 30 points, with the former even committing three fouls and 5 turnovers, to add insult to injury. The Clippers had better shooting percetages on the night but clearly they weren't making enough inroads to the basket to give San Antonio a serious threat. Daniel Greene has been one of the big stories for the Spurs this post-season, he shot 4 of 6 from downtown, adding to his 6 from 11 from beyond the arc, at home in the playoffs.
The crucial tactic that got San Antonio such a commanding triumph was Parker's tracking of Chris Paul. Even though Spurs, kept changing the man blocking Paul, Parker proved to be his most competent nemesis and the Clippers guard looked increasingly frustrated against the Frenchman. Clippers coach spoke of Chris Paul and Parker after the game, Paul) is trying to make plays. San Antonio is corralling him in certain areas. I don't really worry about Chris. He'll bounce back. He's fighting through a weak hand. He just had one of those games. Tony (Parker) had a fantastic year and he's difficult to contain in the open court. We have to do a better job."
A confident win gives San Antonio the upper hand in this best of 7 Conference semi-final and unless the Clippers take Game 3, they might turn out to be Spurs' second whitewash victims in this post season. Chris Paul must have one of the games of his life and Blake Girffin will have to get over his knee problems, if they wish to take back some lost pride from the Spurs team as the Clippers head back home to the Stapples Centre.
Games on Friday night
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (2-1)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. LA Lakers (2-0)
- 21/05/2012 12:30 - NBA playoffs: San Antonio power into Conference Finals, James and Wade tie series for Miami
- 20/05/2012 13:49 - NBA playoffs: San Antonio overcome early Clippers surge, Lakers fall at the final hurdle
- 19/05/2012 11:48 - NBA playoffs: Lakers claw back against Oklahoma, Boston slip up