MIAMI – —
In facing a sizable frontcourt led by an All-Star center, the easy question is how are the Miami Heat going to adjust to the Indiana Pacers.
The Heat are looking at it from a different view.
How are the Pacers going to handle the Heat?
The only adjustment Miami is planning to make is going from playing a New York Knicks team without a traditional center to the Pacers, who feature Roy Hibbert in the middle.The series opens Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Get the FREE Miami Hoops iPhone and Android app
“I don’t really like to make adjustments to suit the other team,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “I like to do what you want and they have to adjust to you. I’ve always believed in that. I think us changing to them means that we’re not being aggressive. If we’re aggressive and really going after those guys, they’re going to have to be the guys to change what they’re doing.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was asked before Wednesday’s series-clinching win against the Knicks if he felt comfortable with his rotation at center. Bosh, Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem logged most of the minutes at the five during the series.
It was enough to overpower the Knicks, but will it work against the Pacers? Indiana was the league’s fourth-leading rebounding team during the regular season, averaging 43.6. The Pacers out-rebounded the Orlando Magic in the first round by an average of nearly nine a game.
“That’s on the coaches to make those decisions,” Bosh said. “The way we’re playing right now, our rotation is great. It’s tight … Hibbert is a load down there. He’s talented, he skilled. I have no problem doing my part. Hibbert is a challenge but I’m more than capable of meeting that challenge.”
In addition to Hibbert, who leads the Pacers with 8.8 rebounds a game, they have forwards Danny Granger and former All-Star David West. Guard Paul George can also play in the frontcourt.
“They have about three or four guys they go to in the post,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “They kind of become a power game at times.”
Spoelstra will likely need a few minutes from center Ronny Turiaf or possibly even Dexter Pittman. After being slowed by a late-season hamstring injury, Turiaf did not play in the first round. Pittman also failed to make an appearance.
Spoelstra said he is comfortable using both if needed against the Pacers. They have combined to make 11 starts this season.
“I don’t know how that’s going to go, but I can imagine we’ll look to some of the other bigs,” Anthony said. “They are definitely a more traditional power team with Hibbert. There will definitely be opportunities for guys to get in there.”
The teams last met March 26 in Indianapolis, with the Pacers cruising to a 105-90 victory and handing the Heat their second straight double-digit defeat. Bosh shot just 4 of 11 from the field and finished with two rebounds.
The Pacers held a 49-33 rebounding edge in a physical game where LeBron James briefly left the game with a dislocated finger. The Heat only expect things to get more bodily in the postseason.
“When the playoffs come, it’s a no-layup type of mentality, that unwritten rule deal,” Wade said. “We expect them to be physical. You’ve got to expect it.”
Indiana also had all five starters score in double-figures. It’s an area the Heat have shown improvement, but the Pacers hold the edge in the balance department. The late-season addition of Leandro Barbosa has given them another capable scorer off the bench.
It is quite the change from facing the Knicks, who were led by one primary scorer in Carmelo Anthony.
“We’re suited for whatever team we’re going up against,” James said of adjusting to a different style. “…It won’t be hard at all. It’s something that we know we’re going to have to face at some point in the postseason. Indiana definitely has a great team-oriented game.”