We’ll post the Sunday buzz column, with Dolphins and more, later on Sunday.
First, postscripts from the Heat’s dreadful 91-77 Game 6 loss at Indiana, which sends this series back to Miami for a Game 7:
### What an offensive abomination. The numbers are nauseating:
Miami closed at a season-low 36.1 percent from the field. Its 77 points tied a season low. The Heat had more turnovers (13) than assists (10). And the combined 15 points and four field goals from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were their lowest combined total as teammates.
So what the heck is going on with Bosh and Wade (aside from Wade’s injury)?
“We have to make shots,” Bosh said. “We just have to play better. I’m just really disappointed in myself.”
Of Wade and Bosh, Erik Spoelstra said: “If anything, it’s on me. I’ve got to find those guys ways to get them in places where they can be really aggressive. That will be my focus. I know those two men’s characters – they come in big in those moments. I’ve got to get both those guys in places where they can be aggressive and comfortable.”
Wade and Bosh were kept on the bench for the first 8:05 of the fourth quarter, as Spoelstra stuck with a lineup that keyed a 17-4 fourth quarter rally.
Wade finished with just 10 --- his 12th consecutive game failing to reach 20 points. He missed eight of 11 shots, showing little confidence in his wayward jumper, and he had just one assist (to go with two turnovers).
“Early on, I had some shots I missed,” Wade said. “I thought in the third quarter I was starting to get my groove. Came out aggressive. Thought I had a pretty decent third quarter. Hopefully, I will try to have a better start in the next game.”
Asked if he and Bosh need to do more, Wade offered an interesting answer: “We have to do a good job of making sure me and Chris have opportunities to allow us to succeed throughout the game. That’s something we’ll have to look at…. We have to do a better job – all of us – of getting each other involved in the game.”
Asked by TNT’s Craig Sager what percentage his knee is, Wade said: “I don’t want to talk about it…. I’ve been talking about it for two months. Nothing more to say.”
### Bosh’s night was perhaps even more disappointing. He followed two consecutive 7-point games with a five point, 1 for 8 clunker. Bosh’s five points, by the way, were a playoff career low. And it’s the first time since his rookie season that he has gone three straight games without scoring in double figures.
“We missed a lot of point blank shots,” Bosh said. “I missed 18 footers. I missed a turnaround jumper. I missed everything I threw up there. It’s the part where you have to be mentally tough. It really hasn’t been going my way this series. I will play better and I have to play better in Game 7. I feel my rhythm is off. I’ve been searching for it the whole series. I’ve got to find it. I’ve got less than 48 hours to do it. As much as this sucks, we have to put it behind us.”
Bosh had his ankle re-taped but said it wasn’t an issue.
### LeBron, on the struggles of Wade and Bosh: “They’re struggling right now, obviously. Chris is struggling with his shot, and him hurting his ankle didn’t help him. He will find it. It’s my job as a leader to keep him motivated, to let him know how important he is to our chances to go back to the Finals.
“They’re two great players. Those guys as champions will figure it out. When they don’t shoot well or play well, it’s more them [than Indiana]. It’s taking no credit away from Indiana’s defense. They’ve seen every kind of defense that has ever been applied to them in a 10-year career and they’ve always been able to figure it out. This one has just taken a little longer.
“Dwyane had one that rimmed out, and another that rimmed out. Those are rhythm plays. I know he wishes he had those back. I will look at the film and see ways we can help him get back on track.”
### As if the Heat’s shooting wasn’t enough of a problem, Miami was again pounded on the boards (53-33). The Pacers have now outrebounded the Heat by 105 in nine games this season.
### Spoelstra finally went to Mike Miller to start the fourth, and he hit two threes during that Heat comeback that ended with Miami down four.
Spoelstra stuck with the lineup of Miller, James, Joel Anthony, Norris Cole and Ray Allen until 3:55 remained in the game, by which time a 9-0 Pacers run had extended Indy’s lead to 81-68.
Spoelstra probably stuck with that lineup a minute too long, but it was understandable because Wade and Bosh were so ineffective. And though Chalmers played well in Games 4 and 5, Cole was having a good night.
Spoelstra said that when Miami closed to within four, “I figured we’d get some stops, but they made some big plays,”
### Anthony, replacing the suspended Chris Andersen, acquitted himself well, with eight rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes, and Miami was outscored by only two points with The Warden on the floor.
But as usual, Anthony couldn’t finish around the basket – unlike Birdman. Anthony missed four of five shots. Andersen, by contrast, has missed only six of 43 shots this postseason.
### Allen’s 2 for 8 shooting tonight left him 13 for 46 in this series and 7 for 24 on threes.
### LeBron had 29 (10 for 21 shooting), plus seven rebounds and six assists, but he also had four turnovers and the Heat was outscored by 22 points in LeBron’s 42 minutes.
The enduring LeBron snapshot of Game 6? LeBron being called for an offensive foul, racing downcourt (stunned look on his face), and being called for a technical with the Heat down 77-68. Assistant coach David Fizdale also got a technical.
“I don’t have no idea why that was called an offensive foul,” LeBron said. “To stop me from being ejected, I just got away from the ref. I said absolutely nothing. I ran down court to get me away from the scene of the crime. I thought it was a pretty bad call.”
Charles Barkley cracked: “LeBron’s thinking – Damn I miss those Cleveland days.”
### Two offensive droughts ultimately doomed the Heat. Miami scored just two points in the first 6:29 of the third in falling behind by 17. Then, after a 17-4 run closed Indiana’s lead to 72-68, Miami went 2:37 without scoring, as the Pacers built the lead back to 13.
### The Heat ended up being outscored 29-15 in the third, shooting just 4 for 16.
“Total domination by the Pacers in the third and we missed some very easy shots,” LeBron said. “Dwyane had a chippie in transition. C.B. had a couple pretty good looks.”
### Spoelstra - in the fourth quarter - opted for Miller over Shane Battier, who played only four minutes and none in the second half. Battier didn’t attempt a shot on Saturday and is 15 for 66 (22.7 percent) this postseason.
### Spoelstra’s take: “Even though all of us were very disappointed about this game, and letting this opportunity slip through our hands, you have to move on immediately. Game 7s are a treasure in pro sports. Game 7s are the ones you’ll remember 20 years from now.”
### Looking ahead: LeBron is 1-2 in Game 7s but 1-0 as a member of the Heat (vs. Boston last season). He has averaged 34.3 points in those games. “I probably won’t be able to relax because of the excitement of a Game 7 in our building,” he said. “That’s what we had the best record in the league for. We can fall back [on homecourt]. We hate to be in this position. Just go out and have fun.”
### The home team is 89-23 (79.5 winning percentage) all time in NBA Game 7s.
### Barkley: “People say I picked Indiana because I don’t like the Heat. First of all, it’s stupid. What we’ve said from day one is the only way to beat the Heat is if you have big guys down low. Hibbert’s a good player, but he ain’t this damn good.”
### Paul George was terrific, with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists.
### Hibbert, as usual in this series, was a force, with 24 points and 11 rebounds. But he showed horrible misjudgment in the postgame press conference, using a homophobic slur and an obscenity. (Hibbert apologized Sunday morning for his "insensitive remarks" but a fine is likely.)
He ended a response to a question with "no homo" when asked about his defense on James.
Asked why he finished only 10th in Defensive Player of the Year voting, Hibbert offered this response:
"Y'all mother(expletive) don't watch us play throughout the year, to tell you the truth. That's fine. I'm going to be real with you. And I don't care if I get fined. You know what, we play, we're not on TV all the time. Reporters are the ones that are voting. And it is what it is. If I don't make it, that's fine. I'm still going to do what I have to do."