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Playoff Journal - May 25

   by Larry Ness - 05/25/2012

The Heat took a 26-17 lead at the end of the first quarter of Game 3 in their series with the Pacers, but then the 'roof caved in' at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, The Pacers "returned the favor" by winning the second quarter 26-17 and then broke the game open with a 26-12 third quarter, on their way to a 94-75 win. Doing the math, the Heat were outscored 77-49 over the game's final three quarters. Miami sure looked as if it had HUGE problems against Indiana. Bosh was out with a strained abdominal muscle and was not expected to return for the series and it was reasonable to wonder if the combo of LBJ and Wade (without much help) would be able to stand up against the well-balanced and deep, Pacers.

LBJ had a modest line of 22-7-3 in Game 3 and while Chalmers surprised with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting, Wade was just AWFUL (2-of-13 with just FIVE points). The Heat were a WOEFUL 5-for-42 on three-pointers through the first three games of the series. Miami trailed 2-1 in the series after getting routed 94-75 in Indianapolis that night, reaching just 75 points for the second straight game (lost Game 2 at home, 78-75). The fired-up Pacers had Game 4 coming up at home on Sunday, with a chance to build a commanding 3-1 lead. The Pacers led 54-46 at the break in Game 4 but the Heat outscored them 30-16 in the third quarter, with LBJ and Wade scoring 28 of the team's 30 points (had a run of 38 consecutive Miami points, spanning the 2nd & 3rd quarters). The Heat would win that game 1101-93, Game 5 back in Miami 101-85 and then last night, back at Indiana, closed out the Pacers 105-93.

With Chris Bosh sidelined by an abdominal injury and not being able to consistently count on any other teammates, James and Wade soared to new heights in their “two-man game.” Over the final three games of this Eastern Conference semifinal series, James scored 98 points, grabbed 34 rebounds and handed out 24 assists while Wade had 99 points, 22 rebounds and 11 assists. Wade had 41 points last night, his seventh career 40-point playoff game (tied for 3rd-most among active players). The Heat are now 7-0 when he scores 40-plus points in a playoff game. LBJ had 28-6-7 with Chalmers adding 15 points and Miller 12. All five Indiana starters scored in double digits (West led with 24) but the Pacers bench added just 13 points,as Indiana did little to disprove Bird’s claim of his team being ‘soft.’

Miami’s road win drops home teams to 13-8 SU and 12-9 ATS (were 29-15 SU but just 23-20-1 ATS in the 1st round). Over bettors have done well in this second round (last night’s game finished almost 20 points higher than the closing total of 180 1/2) and it’s now 13 overs and eight unders this round, after 27 of 44 games went under in the first round.

"Zig Zaggers" had a good weekend (Fri-Sun) going 5-1 and but they are just 2-3 ATS this week (Mon-Thu). The second round has been good to those following the Zig Zag theory, as they are 11-6 ATS but after finishing the first round at 16-19-1, the current postseason record stands at 27-25-1 ATS, or minus-0.5 net games.

There are no games tonight but Game 7 of the Philly/Boston series is set for Saturday (8:00 ET on ABC). Game 1 of the Western Conference finals opens Sunday and for that reason, I’ll have Playoff Journals Saturday and Sunday, available by 10:00 ET on those mornings.

Good luck...Larry

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