It's odd - I don't mind losing to the Heat in overtime on a shoot that only one of the greats can make in the last seconds of a game. For some reason it doesn't bother me as much as losing to the Bulls or being blown out by this same Heat team.
Last night I able to watch one of the most entertaining games of the year. Of course I was saddened as Wade hit a last second shot in overtime to beat the Pacers. I was saddened but not angered - like I was when the Pacers allowed the Bulls to destroy them in the third quarter a few games back. This Pacers team did everything they could to win a tough game against the best team in the NBA; everything but close the game out.
I recognize the fact that the Pacers are not one of the top 3 teams in the NBA. Last night was proof the Pacers still have some building to do but it was also proof of something more significant for Pacer fans. This year the Pacers have beaten some of the top teams in the league including the Bulls, Mavericks, Celtics, Hawks and Magic. The Pacers have also struggled against teams like the Magic, Bulls (at times) and definitely the Heat.
The difference between the defeat last night and some of the other L's the Pacers have suffered this year is that they played their game. In Chicago the Pacers forced the Bulls to play their tempo, they forced Rose to pass the ball instead of score the ball and they led at halftime. Then the second half the Bulls controlled the ball, the tempo and the game - beating the Pacers in an ugly game. Until last night the Heat played their game and have destroyed the Pacers in previous match ups this year. Last night was a different story. Last night showed that the Pacers may not be a top 3 team yet - but they are closer then many think.
The Pacers passed the ball vertically and horizontally spreading the defense so the Pacers could drive to the net. This also opened up the three point shoots so the Pacers didn't have to force poor shoots. They were able to contain James and Bosh throughout most of the game - unfortunately leaving Wade to have his way with the defense. The Pacers led most of the game but just couldn't close it out. This may be disappointing to many but we have to remember this team is young. It needs time to continue developing and learning how to close out games. The fact that they forced the best team into overtime to fall on a last second shoot should be encouraging.
Finally - I have to give a shout out to Lou. Great game Lou; you played tough!