Postscripts and reaction after the Heat’s 107-96 loss to Indiana in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse:
### The odds, naturally, are against Indiana again opening 6 for 7 on threes, even though some of those shots will remain open if the Heat sags off shooters to offer help on the Pacers’ bigs.
The biggest problem: Roy Hibbert's size and David West's physicality continue to pose problems for Miami, as was the case again in Game 1.
(Wasn’t Greg Oden – who wasn’t even active – supposed to be a panacea to that problem? Erik Spoelstra said Oden has no health issues, but after sitting out for most of the past seven weeks --- including with a back issue in late March and early April --- that Oden needs a couple more strenuous workouts before being evaluated later this week, let alone playing.)
There are other worrisome issues, too, for Miami: Chris Bosh’s continued disappointing play against Indiana; the Heat’s dismal three-point shooting against Indy (a problem all year); poor pick-and-roll defense Sunday; erratic point guard play; Lance Stephenson's evolution.
### After two years, the Heat still has no answers for West, who closed with 19 points (8 for 11) and seven rebounds and carved out good position in the post against multiple Heat defenders, including Bosh and LeBron James.
We mentioned in Saturday night’s post how West has dominated Bosh head-to-head over the past two seasons, and that continued, with Bosh mustering just two rebounds and eight points, on 4 for 12 shooting and 0 for 5 on threes.
Bosh is now shooting 28 for 84 in his past 19 games against Indiana, including 3 for 19 on threes this season.
More unsettling: West has outrebounded Bosh, 121-62, over their past 15 meetings.
“Chris has a great way of figuring things out as a series goes on,” Spoelstra said, trying to put an optimistic spin on this.
Said Paul George: "Had Bosh played a bigger role for them, this game would have been a lot tougher."
Hibbert, meanwhile, had 19 points and nine rebounds, and the Pacers were plus 19 with him on the floor (and minus eight with Hibbert on the bench). According to ESPN, Heat players defended by Hibbert shot for 13.
Still, Bosh seemed dismissive of Hibbert's game, saying: "He was 5 of 13. I'm not going to pay attention to that."
### The free-throw discrepancy was astounding: Indiana 29 for 37, the Heat 10 for 15. Hibbert had just one fewer made free throw than the Heat. This was the Heat's third-most lopsided free throw attempt deficit in the Big Three era.
### ABC cameras, permitted in the Heat’s locker-room after the game before the media was allowed, videotaped Spoelstra telling this to his team: “What it’s going to take is great trust. You have to trust you’re going to come up with an answer in the next 24 hours. We will collectively. Let’s make sure we keep this in perspective.”
### What Spoelstra told the media: “That was us at our worst defensively. You have to give them credit. We never got into a rhythm where we could defend without fouling.”
### Spoelstra, on Shane Battier starting ahead of Udonis Haslem: “I don’t know that had an effect or not. Shane’s overall [plus/minus] was a positive [plus two in 16 minutes].” Indiana scored 30 in the first quarter, its most since Feb. 27.
Haslem started the second half --- he had a few good moments in the game defending Hibbert --- but the overall results were no better.
### Dwyane Wade was efficient, with 27 points on 12 for 18 shooting. The problem is that Lance Stephenson is so much better than the raw, unpolished knucklehead who was giving the choke sign to LeBron two years ago.
Beyond the 17 points, Stephenson had eight assists and four rebounds. He’s Indiana best passer and has become a more reliable shooter (8 for 12 Sunday).
"He's been able to control [his emotions]," Paul George said. "He's just an emotional person. He gets out of hand sometimes, but we can live with most of it. He did a great job tonight staying poised and keeping himself in the game."
(Wade declined to comment about Stephenson saying yesterday that he hoped to get Wade running to make his "knee flare up.")
### LeBron, who had 25 points (11 for 18) and 10 rebounds: “We made a lot of mistakes and they took advantage of it. They got some threes early on. Our pick-and-roll coverage had a lot of breakdowns, including myself. They exploited us. Going into Game 2, we’ll be more mentally prepared for their actions. We’ll make adjustments and be a better team in Game 2.”
### Does Miami regret not getting the No. 1 seed? “No,” Wade said afterward. “Everything happens for a reason. This series has so much more basketball left. These are two teams that can win in both arenas…. The things we didn’t do great today we’ll be do better in Game 2. We’re a confident team.”
### The Heat’s three-point shooting against Indiana, awful during the regular season (27 percent), remained awful today (6 for 23). “We had some really good looks and they didn’t fall,” James said.
And on that topic… even though LeBron and James Jones has been the Heat’s best pairing from a plus-minus standpoint in postseason, Jones played just four minutes Sunday, missing his only shot.
### The Heat had 21 fast break points to Indiana’s six but was outrebounded 38-29.... Miami didn't lead in a game for only the third time all season. The others: March 4 against Houston, Mach 6 against San Antonio.
### Remember the Heat was also manhandled (103-82) in Game 1 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals in Chicago, then won four straight. In fact, during The Big Three era, the Heat has gone on to win all four series in which it lost the first game, including last year's NBA Finals.
### For the Heat, point guard play needs to be a draw or close to it, and Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole came up short, thoroughly outplayed by George Hill and CJ Watson. The Heat’s point guards had six assists and no turnovers but combined to shoot 2 for 12, with Chalmers 2 for 9.
### Reaction from the Pacers side: Paul George (24 points, 7 assists): "We did a great job of moving the ball. That's why we got off to a hot start. Having Battier on me, I think I'm a little quicker. It doesn't pose that much of a threat for me."
### ABC's Bill Simmons continues to win no friends among Heat fans. He mentioned before the game that the Western Conference Finals is the real NBA Finals and that the Spurs and Thunder (without Serge Ibaka) are both superior to the Heat and Pacers.
### Jeff Van Gundy put it simply: “Miami is not as good as last year.” And defensively, “They’re a little slower. Size is a factor” also.
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