May 22, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (left) is pressured by Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (center) and point guard George Hill (right) during the second half in game one of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami wins in overtime 103-102. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers: Game 2 Preview

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With Game 2 between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers set for tonight, we wanted to take some time to look back at Game 1 and discuss the keys to victory for each team moving forward in to tonight’s game. To do that, we asked some questions to our Miami Heat website All U Can Heat and our Indiana Pacers website Always Miller Time, which we will share with you.

Without further introduction, here is a little preview for tonight’s Game 2 match up between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers:

FS.comWhere can your team improve for Game 2?

Heat: I think on some level, the Miami Heat didn’t take the Indiana Pacers as seriously as they should have in Game 1. For example, when Paul George hit a deep three to tie the game as time expired, LeBron had the chance to close Paul George out, and simply didn’t. It was almost as if LeBron couldn’t (or didn’t want to) believe that Paul George could possibly hit the game-tying shot.

If LeBron had closed out, would he have blocked the shot? No. Could he have possibly altered the shot? Yes. When your best player doesn’t close out on a game-tying shot does that say something about your team’s mentality? Yes.

Hopefully, Game 1 was a wake-up call for the Miami Heat that the Indiana Pacers are a legitimate threat to the Heat’s title aspirations and that they need to do everything possible (even the little things, like, I don’t know, closing out the best player on the opposing team as they are taking the game-tying shot) to ensure victory. This is not to say the Heat weren’t intense (just look at their reaction at the end of the game) but that there is a subtle difference between being intense and doing everything you can to win — and the Miami Heat need to do everything they can to win.

Pacers: The Indiana Pacers have to cut back on the turnovers. Solidify the passes, and watch the dribbling. There were times George Hill looked very shaky out there, and as a point guard, he has to be on the ball with his floor leadership.

FS.comShould Roy Hibbert have been benched at the end of Game 1?

Heat: It is so so so easy to Monday Morning quarterback.  For example, if LeBron had taken a jumper instead of a layup, people wouldn’t be as uproariously anti-Frank Vogel as they are right now.

I defend Frank Vogel’s decision, partly because Roy Hibbert is less mobile than White Goodman at the end of Dodgeball.  Miami had Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Shane Battier, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh on the last play.  What ended up happening (I break down the play, literally frame-by-frame) was that Ray Allen’s defender, Sam Young and Chris Bosh’s defender, Tyler Hansbrough (which would have been Hibbert, if he was in) switched — so now Tyler Hansbrough is on Ray Allen and Sam Young is defending Chris Bosh.

Hansbrough guarding Allen is not as bad a matchup as Hibbert guarding Ray Allen (which is the equivalent of a freight train trying to keep up with a Kawazaki motorcycle).  The final thing is that even if Hibbert was in the game, Ray Allen was standing in the corner during LeBron’s drive, so Hibbert (who would have been guarding Ray Allen after he and Sam Young switched defenders) would have been in the corner, and not in any position to defend LeBron.

Pacers: I go back and forth on this. I don’t like to second guess things, but I think Hibbert should have been in there. Lebron had made shots over Hibbert anyways, so who is to say Hibbert stops that basket especially if Chris Bosh pulls Hibbert away from the basket. But ultimately, you want him out there JUST IN CASE.

FS.com: What is the most important match up for your team?

Heat: This series is going to be about rebounds, because there are going to be a ton of missed shots in this series due to a great Pacers defense and a bad Pacers offense. For example, in Game 1 there was a total of 91 missed shots. That’s a lot of rebounds, and whichever team can rebound the best (i.e. get those crucial offensive rebounds and corral defensive rebounds) is going to have those vital second-chance opportunities that determine whether one wins or loses a game.

This means that the battle in the paint (Bosh vs. Hibbert) is the most important match up for this team. Bosh brings a lot to the table (foremost, his ability to be a legit pick-and-pop threat) but he also needs to be tougher in the paint — Bosh only had two (two!!!) rebounds in Game 1. To put this into perspective, Norris Cole had four rebounds.

Pacers: Paul George on LeBron James. You can’t stop Lebron, but you can slow him down, and force him to work. If that happens, maybe the Pacers can stop the action around him, and really get the game in their favor like game one.

FS.comWho needs to step up the most tonight?

Heat: Dwyane Wade. Don’t get me wrong, Wade played a good Game 1 (other than the minor detail that Wade fouled Paul George on a three-pointer in overtime, which 1. Put the Pacers up by one after George drained all of his free throws 2. Meant Wade had fouled out of the game).  Wade had 19 points on 9-for-15 shooting, six rebounds, and five assists — all good stats — but he needs to prove he can be a consistent second banana to LeBron James, which Wade has not done throughout the playoffs.  Much of it is has to do with his right knee injury, but Wade needs to get off his playoff schneid and perform well every single game for the duration of the playoffs.

Pacers: I’m going with Paul George on this one. I think he needs to come out firing from the beginning and really work hard on defense on LeBron.

FS.comWhat are your predictions for tonight’s game?

Heat: With the Indiana Pacers reeling from a very tough loss, and the Miami Heat motivated to take a 2-0 lead, the Miami Heat will win Game 2, 84-78. My bold prediction for tonight is that Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem each score more than 15 points.

Pacers: I think the Pacers have what it takes to hang and beat the Heat if they just shore up what things weren’t as good on Wednesday. But at the same time, I see the Heat coming out in attack mode early, and if that happens, watch out. Just like that Bulls game where the Heat just took over, that could happen if the Pacers don’t come out hard in this game. I say Pacers win by 5 or less, and hopefully tie the series up.

Stay tuned to FanSided all postseason long to stay up to date with the latest breaking news, rumors and updates surrounding the 2013 NBA Playoffs right through to the NBA Finals this June.

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Tags: Indiana Pacers Miami Heat

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