The Pacers maintained Monday that Heat power forward Chris Bosh’s abdominal injury, which likely will sideline him the rest of this series, doesn’t put them a distinct advantage heading into Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series Tuesday night.
“We just can’t think that’s going to give us some sort of one-up,” Pacers power forward David West said before the team’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. “When you’ve got two guys like D-Wade and LeBron, I just don’t think that would be the smart thing to do.”
Said Pacers coach Frank Vogel: “It changes their team, but we’ve got to understand it doesn’t allow you to play 5-on-4. They’ve got great players they can fill in for him.
“They’ve got different lineups that are sometimes more effective than the lineup with Bosh. Obviously, not having to worry about Bosh helps because he’s such a terrific player.”
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Vogel said the Pacers’ plan “won’t change dramatically” with Bosh absent. He added that the Pacers prepared before the series started for LeBron James to play some power forward. They also expect to see the Heat at times go with two of “three of the best dirty-work guys in the business” — Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem — at the same time.
Pacers small forward Danny Granger said the absence of Bosh “weakens” the Heat in their half-court sets.
“Now that Chris can’t play, I think it’ll be really heavy pick-and-roll sets for LeBron and D-Wade,” Granger said. “That’s what it was when he went out of the game. They kind of lost their low-post presence so now those guys will dominate the ball even more, which makes my job and Paul George’s job a little more difficult, and our bigs, because they’ll set multiple pick-and-rolls every possession.”
All-Star center Roy Hibbert, who fouled Bosh on the play in which he was injured in the first half, said he hoped Bosh would return soon, noting, “I like to play against the best competition in the world.”
Hibbert, who had a team-high tying 17 points in Game 1 while shooting 6 for 12 from the field and 5-for-6 from the free throw line, said he wants to be “a little more assertive on the offensive end” in Game 2.
Not crying foul
The Pacers clearly weren’t happy with the disparity in personal fouls (31-22) and free throws (38-28) in favor of the Heat in Game 1, but they kept quiet about the officiating after the game. It was the same Monday.
“I’m not gong to even get into that one,” Granger said when asked about the foul discrepancy. Vogel’s response when asked about Commissioner David Stern’s comments Sunday: “Call me this summer, we’ll go to lunch and I’ll tell you everything I feel about flopping. Until then, I’m going to keep my mouth shut.”
Getting Granger going
Granger said he’s “very confident” after watching film that he can get more, and better, shots after shooting 1-for-10 and scoring seven points.
West said the Pacers can help Granger by seeing him when plays aren’t called for him.
“He works extremely hard on the defensive end guarding their best player, the MVP. I understand what he’s going through,” West said. “When I guard Dwight [Howard], I’m pretty much spent on the offensive end. So we’re going to do a good job of trying to get him more involved where he doesn’t have to exert as much energy on the offensive end.”
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