|The Pacers had a big chance to steal one early from Miami. (US Presswire)|
It was all there for the Pacers. And then just like that, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James snatched it away.
There's reason to be encouraged for the Pacers though. Reason to feel good about their prospects. They held a lead over the Heat for a lot of the day, played well and gave themselves a chance to win on the road in Game 1. Those are the positives.
But boy, they missed a big opportunity. A big chance to steal one and make this series interesting right from the start.
The Pacers essentially executed an ideal gameplan for the first two and a half quarters, grinding the Heat out, getting transition buckets, utilizing their size in Roy Hibbert inside while playing smart with the basketball. It was 48-42 at the half, but it felt like the Pacers had complete control.
Plus, add in the fact that the guy carrying the Heat, Chris Bosh, left the game at the end of the second quarter with an abdominal strain and didn't return. Unlucky for the Pacers, Bosh's exit might've awoken the two-headed beast in Miami. After halftime it was Indiana 38, LeBron and Wade 42. The Pacers went 6-of-19 in the fourth, got a 1-of-10 effort from Danny Granger and couldn't find anything easy late in the game.
Obviously that's a credit to the Heat, but the Pacers are going to look at this game two ways: 1) They know they can hang with the Heat and 2) They're going to regret missing this chance. Of course they could bounce back in Game 2, especially with the likelihood Bosh is going to miss some time, but regardless, beating the Heat four times is going to be a challenge. Getting one now would've been a monster boost in pulling off the unthinkable.
It's just starting though. The Pacers already have an advantage in the paint wth Hibbert and David West and if Bosh is out, Indiana really has something working for it. LeBron isn't going to make it easy for Granger, but 1-of-10 is out of the ordinary, no matter how good LeBron was. There was an air of no-back-down from the Pacers and they were ready to meet the Heat up front.
Which is what makes this one a shame to let slip away. Steal one early, catch a break with Bosh's injury and things could've been looking really solid for the Pacers. Time yet, but a missed opportunity in the postseason is something you often live to regret.