NBA playoffs betting: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers, Game 3
The Miami Heat didn’t look like the NBA championship favorites in their first game without the injured Chris Bosh, and now the Heat must bounce back from their first home playoff loss ever against any Eastern Conference foe since LeBron James and Bosh joined the team as the travel to Indiana for tonight’s Game 3. The Heat are 1.5-point favorites on WagerWeb.com.
Bosh was hurt late in the first half of Game 1 on Sunday, on a play where he drove for a dunk and got fouled. He was in immediate pain, checked out of the game when the pain became too unbearable one possession later, and was diagnosed with the muscle strain. An MRI on Monday confirmed that diagnosis and he’s likely out for the rest of this series at a minimum.
Bosh was hugely missed in Miami’s 78-75 Game 2 loss. LeBron James scored 28 points for Miami and Dwyane Wade finished with 24 but Miami shot only 35 percent, got outrebounded 50-40 and besides James and Wade, no other Heat player scored more than five points. It was the first time in Heat franchise history that only two players scored more than five points in a game, regular-season or playoffs. It was just the fourth time in the shot clock era in that two or fewer players on any NBA team scored six-plus points in a playoff game. All four teams lost the game.
In addition, both LeBron and Wade blew chances to tie or win the game late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining. And on Miami’s final possession with a chance to tie, Wade passed up a shot and instead dished off to Mario Chalmers, who missed a 3-pointer. How is it that LeBron and Wade are two of the five best players in the world and neither takes that shot? The Heat were 1-for-16 from long range in Game 2.
LeBron went 4-for-8 from the free throw in the 4th quarter, including those two key misses. He is now shooting just 59 percent from the free throw line this season in the final minute of one-possession games. The rest of his team is a combined 13-for-15. LeBron’s last shot attempt came with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter (a missed 3-pointer).
The 75 points scored by the Heat are tied for second fewest by a team in which the MVP played on. All five teams that scored 75 or fewer points lost the game.
David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Indiana. George Hill had 15 points, Danny Granger scored 11 and Paul George added 10 for the Pacers, who made only 38 percent of its shots. The Pacers had been 2-9 this season when shooting that poorly. Indiana outscored the Heat 16-10 in transition during Game 2. The Heat have lost both times this postseason when they were outscored in transition. Miami shot a postseason-low 22.2 percent (2-9) in transition, including 0-for-3 by Wade.
Indiana and Miami split two meetings in Indianapolis this season, ironically by the same 105-90 score.