Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just a day after declaring Chris Bosh is out indefinitely, the Miami Heat return to the court Tuesday night to take on the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Without Bosh in the lineup, the Pacers are expected to target the low post with Roy Hibbert and David West getting heavy minutes. The Pacers leaned on West and Hibbert in Game 1 and the duo produced 34 points and 23 rebounds against the Heat.
That means the Heat will have to counter with a rotation of Ronny Turiaf, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony and perhaps Dexter Pittman at times until Bosh comes back.
The Heat will have to find a way to replace Bosh’s ability to hit jumpers away from the basket. Without that, the Pacers can clog the lanes for the Heat’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James making Miami’s challenge significantly more difficult.
In Game 1, LeBron and D-Wade combined to score 61 points on 20-49 shooting and make 21-24 free throws they attempted. James contributed 15 rebounds, including six offensive boards to Miami’s Game 1 victory.
The Heat know what they will get from LeBron and Wade as both have vowed to step up their games further, which given the way LeBron is playing, should really scare the Heat’s opponents.
LeBron is averaging 28.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.2 steals per game during the 2012 NBA Playoffs. He’s picked up right where he left off in the regular season and has settled into his role as being the most dominating player in the game.
The real heavy lifting is going to fall on the shoulders of Shane Battier, Mike Miller, and Mario Chalmers. All three of them can hit the three, but none of them have been doing it consistently during the playoffs.
In Game 1, Miller, Battier, and Chalmers were 1-9 from the field and scored a total of six points. Battier was held scoreless despite playing nearly 30 minutes in the game.
With Bosh out of commission, the Heat need one of the trio to contribute, or at least for the three of them to contribute 15-20 points each game to help make the lift easier on LeBron and Wade.
The Heat are averaging just less than 97 points per game in the playoffs while holding opponents to 83.3 points per night. Miami is averaging 19 assists for every 14 turnovers, and those numbers are reversed for their opponents.
But the Heat face their first real adversity in the postseason dating back to last year. The Heat have always had the Big Three of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in the lineup in the playoffs. When Game 2 tips off, the Heat will begin the chase again with Bosh as an onlooker.
ESPN ran computer projections of how the Pacers series would turn out with Bosh on the court and found the Heat won more than 80 percent of the time. ESPN’s simulation without Bosh on the floor dropped the Heat’s chances to win the series to roughly 75 percent.