Tag: Larry Bird
The Indiana Pacers were up 2-1 against the Miami Heat and suddenly everything seemed possible for this squad. And then LeBron James and Dwayne Wade began to play like the stars that they are and things got a little difficult for the Pacers. Suddenly and without much of a warning, it was the Heat getting physical with the Pacers, and it was Larry Bird’s squat that looked fragile, unmotivated and in his own words, soft. The Miami Heat would go on to win two games in a row to take a 3-2 advantage in the series and are now just one game away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.
The President of Basketball Operations for the Pacers, and one of the finest players to have played the game, Larry Bird, was simply furious with the way the Heat manhandled his men. “I can’t believe my team went soft. S-O-F-T,” Bird told the Indianapolis Star Tuesday night. “I’m disappointed. I never thought it would happen.” A reporter later asked him to elaborate on his comment a little more. “That’s all I have to say” he responded. Truth is that even Danny Granger had to tke it from Bird. He knew deep inside that it was not just trash talking coming from the NBA legend, he really meant every word he said. “I’ve been with Larry since I’ve been in Indiana for seven years,” Granger added. “He’s not been one to hold his tongue, and 99 percent of the time what he’s saying is right. I think he just called out what everyone else saw. We played a soft game. We didn’t play with the playoff intensity that we needed to win.”
The Pacers had nothing to throw at the Miami Heat on game 5. It was all over by the end of the third quarter with starting forwards Danny Granger and David West having to leave the game with injuries. But even before these two guys walked out of the game, it was clear that this match was going to be all about Miami. James followed one of the finest Playoffs performances we’ve seen in years with a 30-point, 10 rebound, 8 assists game on Tuesday night. Dwayne Wade chipped in with 28 points, proving that his low numbers in the fist three games of the series were nothing but a slump.
Everything seemed to be working out for the Heat. Shane Battier scored 13 points, Mario Chalmers had eight points and 11 rebounds, and Udonis Haslem finished with 10 points for Miami. He will certainly be missed in game six, though. Sure enough the Heat dominated from the start, as a matter of fact they never trailed, and held a 22-2 edge in fast-break points. Perhaps even more significant, the squad shot a franchise playoff-record 61 percent — best of any team in the playoffs this season. But the NBA came down hard on Haslem and Dexter Pittman. Both players are suspended and will not play in game 6 after the NBA considered that their retaliatory flagrant fouls in game 5 deserved the suspension. Perhaps they will learn to play nice. According to Internet sources, the suspension will cost Haslem roughly $35,000 in salary and Pittman about $22,000.