Friday, May 31, 2013

Dwyane Wade Is Not Looking Familiar

2 Time Champ & Former Finals MVP D-Wade 

We are used to seeing Dwyane Wade fly through the air with the greatest of ease.  We are used to Dwyane Wade taking over games.  Basically we are used to Dwyane Wade being great. Sad thing is reality is now setting in and that Dwyane Wade we once knew might be gone for good.

By Haz Bey
D-Wade has fought injuries throughout his career.  He has taken a lot of punishment with his physical style of play.  Who can forget the Gatorade commercial with Wade hitting the ground numerous times?  Seems like all those bumps and bruises from those falls along with all those 82 game regular season games, long playoff runs and we can not forget that he is not in his twenties anymore. All of those contributing factors involved might the lead to main reason why Dwyane Wade has lost his "Mojo".  

LeBron James told reporters at his press conference after the Heat's win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals where LeBron had a monstrous 3rd quarter by outscoring the Pacers 16-13 by himself, that "I had to go back to my Cleveland days."  James was referring to when he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and his supporting cast was not up to par, to say the least.  For LeBron to have a mentality like that means there is something seriously wrong with Dwyane Wade.  It is definitely physically, but it is affecting him mentally on the court.  Dwyane has passed up shots that he would normally take, he looks guard-able and has lost his offensive aggressiveness.  Defensively he is still playing at a high level, but his ailing knee might be the ultimate key factor that has allowed him to lose his confidence on the offensive side of the floor.  Dwyane Wade is only averaging 13.9 points per game throughout the playoffs this season.  A mere shadow of his former self.

Dwayne Wade is not healthy right now.  He is not looking familiar.  He will has to tough it out for one more series against the Spurs in the NBA Finals (I have written off the Pacers since Game 3).  After that he can relax for a whole summer and get healthy again, hopefully.  So I will stay optimistic that D-Wade can return to form, but my heart says the Dwyane Wade we used to know, is gone forever.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pacers Are Not Going Down Without A Fight

Pacers Win Game 4 99-92

By Haz Bey
I am on the record saying that the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers was over after Miami's Game 3 win in Indy, that did not mean I am rooting against the Pacers to lose this series.  I really want to see the Pacers push Miami to the limit and upset them.  Reality is that the Heat are not playing with their best effort against Pacers at all.  They take possessions off constantly, they do no respect them the way they play it through the media & I am pretty sure they are looking ahead to the playing against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.  

The Pacers are trying their best to compete with the defending champs, but lets be real for one second.  We all seen what happened when Miami took the Pacers series seriously, they blew them out the water.  Now we have Game 5. The Pacers will be excited and anxious to get another win in Miami, but the Heat are going to play with an intensity we have yet to see them play with this post season.  The Heat are the type of team that needs to be challenged or they will not respect you, unlike the Western Champion Spurs that will treat every team they play will the same level respect regardless of that team's record and/or reputation.  Since the formation of Miami's "Big 3", the Heat has a history of making things harder for them than they actually are.

The Pacers are a true threat.  They are big, physical and play excellent defense.  Sad thing is though, they don't have a true superstar yet.  Paul George is on his way, but he's not there yet.  Dr. J said it best last night on Inside the NBA on TNT that the NBA will forever be a superstar league.  A team with a balance attack without a true superstar is at a disadvantage against a team with one or more superstars.  Miami has a "Big 3" plus 1, while the Pacers has a collective group of stars in Paul George, Roy Hibbert & David West.  When the games get tight down the stretch its the superstars that you can just throw the ball into and say get me a bucket.  Roy Hibbert because of his height advantage against Miami's bigs seems to be the closest player to becoming a go-to-guy down the stretch for Pacers than anybody else on the roster right now.

Game 5 should be interesting for the fact that we get to see both teams giving everything they got for 48 minutes and maybe more for the first time this series.  The Pacers finally have Miami's respect.  Now we have a series.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Paul George Better Take Notes

Heat Win Game 3 114-96
Haz Bey
Paul George is growing up before our eyes.  I mean this kid seems to be the next superstar in the making.  Problem is, when your in the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James & Dwyane Wade, your learning curve becomes much shorter and you must gain experience on the fly.  

The Pacers and Paul George had to be taught a terrible, but necessary lesson when it comes to playing on the NBA's "Big Stage".  When you have the Champ against the ropes, you have to knock him out! The Pacers did not go for the knockout.  They were comfortable in their surroundings at home and expected to get a victory last night.  Obviously that did not work and the Pacers ended up being knocked out and I just don't mean game 3, I am talking about the whole series.  This series is over.  Whether it is in 5, 6 or 7 games, Indy will not beat the Heat 3 times in 4 games.  It is not happening.

Paul George deserves the blame for game 3 solely because he did not recognize the moment that "Superstars" take matters into their own hands and take their game to the next level.  Paul George did the complete opposite in the Pacers Game 3 loss at home to the defending champion Heat.  Only coming up with 13 points total including only 4 points at halftime.  Going head -to-head with LeBron James, you flat out have to be better than that.  As encouraging as Paul George played LeBron in the first 2 games of the series, George obviously did not anticipate LeBron throwing in a wrinkle or two to make George's defensive less effective.  James brought the young boy down to the post and destroyed him.  When LeBron's post game is going like that, it is virtually impossible to beat the Heat.  If you have to double team him, there are nothing but shooters around the perimeter.  So as if getting bullied in the paint wasn't enough to deal with, Paul George was ineffective offensively.  He did not make James and Wade work on defense.  He passed up shot after shot after shot only going 3 for 10 from the field.  Yes Roy Hibbert and David West scored the basketball scoring 20 & 21 respectively, but Paul George adds a dynamic to the Pacers offense that takes them from an average offensive team to a team can almost score at will.  When Paul George is scoring it opens things up for his big boys in the post.  In game 3 the paint was crowded and Hibbert & West earned all 41 of their combined points.

Paul George did not respond well to challenge of competing with the world champs in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  It will cost the Pacers a chance at appearing in the NBA Finals.  When you are on the big stage, you can not take a night off from being great.  The Pacers might win another game, they could possibly win two, but the Heat has this series wrapped up.  It just a matter of how bad and how fast they want to close this series out.