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How Pacers explained, shrugged off loss to Heat and No. 1 seed battle; Heat, Dolphins chatter

After this resounding 98-86 Heat win over Indiana Friday, the most interesting place afterward was the Pacers locker-room, if only to see their players sit in front of their locker stalls staring morosely into space, trying to explain what has shockingly happened to them over the past month.

Here was the best they could do, after losing for the eighth time in 11 games, and 13th in their past 21:

### David West said “we had no energy and intensity tonight.” Asked why, he said: “I got no clue. No answer for that.”

More West: “We haven’t played well enough to be the top seed. We got what we deserve, I guess.”

### Lance Stephenson: “Whatever God put us at, I feel like if He puts us in the second place or if he puts us in first place, we got to live up to the challenge. I like us as underdogs and us coming after people. I feel we’re better as underdogs.”

### A couple Pacers starters chose to dismiss the ramifications, with the Heat now ahead by half a game in the race for the top seed in the conference.

“Now the No. 1 seed is not in our hands we’re perfectly fine with that,” Paul George said.

And George Hill said: “It doesn’t mean anything. It’s one loss. It would’ve helped us but it doesn’t mean anything.”

### And then there was Roy Hibbert, speaking barely above a whisper, trying to explain why he didn’t even take a shot in the first half (despite the six-inch height advantage over Udonis Haslem, who did more good work against him) and why he didn’t get his first rebound until just over three minutes remained in the third quarter.

“I’m disappointed in my play,” he said. “I felt good. I’ve got to do something on the boards. I’ve got to get long rebounds and work on that.”

He said he didn’t want to force shots in the first half “and we were in a rhythm. We were taking all good shots. I was fine with it. I wasn’t worried about shot attempts.”

But in the next breath, he said, “it was tough getting into a rhythm” offensively “in the second half,” suggesting it was a byproduct of him not taking any shots in the first half.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of Hibbert: “We have to get more from him and break their defense as well as box them out.”

The Heat had a 40-31 edge on the boards. Hibbert closed with five points (2 for 7 shooting) and one rebound in 33 minutes.

Paul George (22 points) shot 7 for 17 with four turnovers.

George Hill didn’t attempt a shot in 32 minutes.

Stephenson (11 points) had four of the Pacers’ 16 turnovers.

“Having 10 turnovers in the second half cost us in the third quarter,” Vogel said. “It was too much for us to overcome. I don’t think we played that bad, other than the third quarter.”

The Heat opened that third quarter on a 16-0 run, then ran off a 9-0 spurt to open the fourth.

“It’s still a good basketball team," Vogel said of his reeling group. "Overall, we feel very confident.”

### Chris Bosh, on the Heat’s approach with Hibbert: In the past, “we were allowing him to get too many easy dunks and layups. That was really hurting us and it got him going. Today we were able to stay between him and the basket and make his catches in the paint tough.

“We want to challenge him every time and test his conditioning level. If he is going to be down there every time, we are going to make him work. I think before we were trying to avoid putting him in pick-and-roll situations, and today I think we just attacked him a lot more.”

### LeBron James, who had 36 points and six rebounds, said: “The best thing about tonight is we didn’t force passes” and commit turnovers (just nine overall).

He said “for us, it’s big” to win because of earlier losses this week. But “it’s not as big as everyone wants to make it.”

Asked about the No. 1 seed, LeBron again downplayed it, saying: “It’s more important for us to play the right way. The No. 1 seed doesn’t guarantee you a playoff series.”

And LeBron showed respect for the Pacers, saying “they have their record for a reason. They are going to be there.”

### Since the Pacers own the tiebreaker by virtue of a better conference record, Miami (54-25) would need to finish 3-0 to claim the No. 1 seed IF the Pacers (54-26) beat both visiting Oklahoma City and Orlando on the road to finish out their schedule. The Heat's remaining games: at Atlanta, at Washington and home to Philadelphia.

DOLPHINS NOTES

### New Dolphins receiver Damian Williams said Miami broached the issue of being a return man during his visit Thursday. But he would be an underdog in that competition with incumbent Marcus Thigpen.

Thigpen ranked 18th in the NFL in kickoff returns last season, averaging 22.5 yards per return. He ranked 19th in punt returns with a 7.8 average.

In his career, Williams has returned four punts for 12 yards, and five kickoffs for 129 yards.

### The Dolphins worked out 50 players during their local day today, the majority from UM, FIU and FAU.

### Clemson tackle/guard Brandon Thomas had planned to visit the Dolphins before tearing the ACL in his knee during a recent workout with the Saints.

Comments

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Michael

Good to know that God is worrying about where to put the Pacers in the standings. When does God start worrying about the Dolphins?

TK SWANN

OKAY CAN WE NOW PUT THIS HEAT/PACERS IN THE CONFERENCE FINALS TO REST!! IT'S CLEAR WHO THE BETTER TEAM IS DURING THE REGULAR SEASON REGARDLESS OF WHO FINISHES WITH THE TOP SEED.. CAN'T BEAT THE HEAT WITHOUT WADE?? I CANNOT SEE THIS TEAM BEATING THE HEAT IN A 7-GAME SERIES WITH A HEALTHY WADE.. WHY ? THE PACERS CANNOT WIN WITHOUT THE WHISTLES(REFS) ALLOWING THEM TO PLAY"BULLY BALL" HAD THE REFS NOT FAVORED THE PACERS AT CERTAIN POINTS IN THE GAME THE HEAT WOULD HAVE WON BY 20/25 EASY!! THIS IS THE SAME TEAM THAT GOT BLASTED BY ATLANTA AT HOME.. AS FAR AS HAVING NO "ENERGY" DIDN'T THESE GUYS (STARTERS) HAVE THE NIGHT OFF EARLY IN THE WEEK AGAINST THE BUCKS?? WHEN THEY(PACERS) HAVE TO EARN IT THEY GET BEAT.. TWICE IN THE PLAYOFFS THE LAST 2 YEARS THE HEAT HAVE WON CRITICAL GAMES IN INDY AND HAD THE PACERS TOOK ADVANTAGE OF HAVING THE LEAD IN THE SERIES THEY COULD HAVE WON BOTH YEARS.. THIS YEAR THEY DO NOT HAVE IT AND THE MEDIA AND THE LEAGUE KNOWS IT.. THE PRIME CHOICE THEY WANT TO BEAT THE HEAT IS THE NJ NETS !! PLEASE IT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE PLAYOFFS AND THE NETS ARE GOING TO HAVE A HARD TIME BEATING CHICAGO.. AS FAR CHICAGO (WITHOUT ROSE) THEY LOSE 4-2 (WITH ROSE??) STILL LOSE 4-2.. BARRING INJURY HEAT ADVANCE TO FINALS AGAINST OKC(NOT SAN ANTONIO) AND WIN FINALS AGAIN 4-2 DESPITE DURRANT WINNING MVP HE GETS OUT PLAYED BY LEBRON IN THE MOST WATCHED FINAL IN LEAGUE HISTORY.. LEBRON HITS BUZZER BEATING 3-PT SHOT IN GAME 6 TO GIVE THE HEAT THE CHAMPIONSHIP..

joe r

receivers and running backs getting a big look in davie

Harleyray

Football fans,went to see the new Kevin Costner movie "DRAFT DAY" a must see. Geat movie and although fiction it gives a great insight into the wheeling and dealing between teams,owners,GM's and head coach's. Really enjoyed it and the timing is perfect with the draft just weeks away.

Jeff

Williams would be an underdog to Thigpen. Interesting, considering Thigpen ranks in the bottom half of kick returners and when was the last time he ran a kick back for a TD? Additionally, he consistently fielded punts inside the ten yard line which even high school returners know not to do.

green

http://youtu.be/AcjJmn6PpxU

What do the players think of the #reNEWed uniforms?
See for yourself:
-- Hurricanes Football ‏@MiamiHurricanes

LET'S GO CRAZY

Richard

“Now the No. 1 seed is not in our hands we’re perfectly fine with that,” Paul George said.

And yet you've been saying all seasons its been your goal to get the #1 seed. So what is it, Paul? What a phoney he and the rest of this Pacers team is.

Mike

New jerseys are going to look like dog sh*t, just like FSU's new Nike jerseys.

http://www.seminoles.com/ignitiontradition/

Has-been

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daaaaaaasssssshhhhiiiiii

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http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/12/4054950/udonis-haslem-providing-spark.html

u mad bro?

daaaaaaasssssshhhhiiiiii

daaaaaaasssssshhhhiiiiii

daaaaaaasssssshhhhiiiiii

http://i.imgur.com/jBGb3kf.jpg

Emo

Now we can hear the Heat shrug off choking away the no. 1 seed again & hear their excuses for choking vs the Hawks.
Folks... we have real issues.

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