The Indiana Pacers and more importantly Paul George got a taste of what happens when the Miami Heat, and LeBron James play with their back to the wall. Although far from elimination the Heat put on a masterful display of ball movement and theatrics leading to a 114-96 victory and a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
What was truly astonishing was the post-game from the league MVP LeBron James. James scored 12 points posting up Paul George in Game 3 finishing with 22 points. Coming in to Game 3 LeBron was 8-20 when posting up, but went right at Paul George.
“He (James) was in the post doing a lot of work, and I think we have to do a better job of helping Paul out,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. “LeBron can’t get five or six dribbles to get a post move. … We have to make adjustments. He’s obviously a low-post threat but we have to make adjustments.”
The Pacers leaving Paul George on an island with the MVP directly effected his offensive game. For the first time this series Paul failed to reach the 20 point mark shooting 3-10 (30%) and was hesitant to shoot early on. It appeared as though Paul knew that if shot and missed the Heat would dump the ball back to LeBron in the post and the onslaught would continue, Paul George is a remarkable player with a bright future, but no one wants to play post defense, especially not against someone who is 30 pounds heavier and is finishing with his left. (JUST LOOK AT THE PICTURE!!! HE IS KISSING HIS SHOULDER!)
With Game 4 this Tuesday the Pacers will have a difficult decision to make:
- Stick with Paul George on an island.
- Put the stronger but much slower David West on the island
- Double LeBron in the post and deal with LeBron passing to team mates.
Basketball protocol says you double and force the likes of Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Chris Bosh beat you with jumpers. The scary thing is that LeBron wants to pass it to that team mate and get them going. In Game 2 his team mates lost confidence in their shot, and chose the “watch you” role. This scenario plays out in numerous Lakers games, when Kobe gets it going, and happened over in the Western Conference when Steph Curry would get hot. In Game 3 LeBron deferred early and the Heat put up 70 at the half.
With the series at 2-1, it’s still anyones series, but the Pacers and Frank Vogel have to get LeBron out of the post.