During the first two games of this Eastern Conference Finals series, the Indiana Pacers forced the Miami Heat to read from their script. There was some question heading into Game 3 if LeBron James would continue to be a one-man show, or if he would get a lift from his teammates. Well, his teammates answered with an emphatic: Yes! Udonis Haslem scored a season-high 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting to provide the lift, as Miami dominated play for the 114-96 victory.
Indiana controlled the painted area throughout most of Game 2, and their 7’2” center, Roy Hibbert, continued to lurk near the rim, disrupting much of Miami’s offensive flow. Heat head coach Erik Spolestra adjusted his offensive attack heading into Game 3, electing to move Hibbert away from the basket and inserting both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade into the post. That move, and the great play from the supporting cast, made all the difference.
“It’s a great win,” LeBron James said after the game. “I understand for us to be great, I have to do a lot of my work on the interior. I made a conscious effort to get down in the post tonight, to put pressure on their defense. The coaching staff wanted me to be down there tonight, and my teammates allowed me to do that.”
Putting James in the post, and to a lesser extent Dwyane Wade, helped Miami control the paint—the key piece real estate in this series. Miami outscored Indiana 56-32 in the paint, despite Roy Hibbert’s 20-point, 17-rebound performance.