The narrative of their Eastern Conference Finals series continues to evole. While the Big vs Small conflict continued and the Shooters Subplot developed, the narrative received a few new voices. The officials joined the fray with some questionable calls and some obviously blown calls late in Game 4. Then a new chapter found its way into the binding when the NBA fined the Miami Heat‘s LeBron James and the Indiana Pacer‘s Lance Stephenson and David West for violating the anti-flopping rules. All this ahead of tonight’s pivotal Game 5.
“We don’t want the focus of this series to be on officiating,” Heat head coach Erik Spolestra said. “We want it to be on the competition.”
Here are a few things to watch for during tonight’s Game 5.
In Game 4, Indiana head coach Frank Vogel sent help early and often against LeBron James in the post. The double-teams and early help prevented James from establishing his preferred position in the paint, and kept him from getting comfortable shots. Perhaps as a result of what the Pacers were doing defensively, LeBron James shot just 1-of-6 in the post in Game 4.
One of Indiana’s defensive principles is to not “over” help, but after James ate up George in the post in Game 3, it was something they had to adjust to. If they help hard again, watch for James to look for the open shooters on the wing. One of the biggest problems of the series so far for Miami has been the performance of said shooters, as they’ve made just 3-of-22 spot-up attempts through Game 4.
“It’s going to be whatever it takes,” Erik Spolestra said of Game 5. “Everybody has to bring more tonight.”