So it is easy to look back in hindsight and say what someone should have done, but what the Pacers should have done was win Game 1.  Why??? Not because the Pacers could have taken a 1-0 lead, not because the Pacers get the home court back (they did win Game 2 so they got the home court back), and not to show the Heat who’s boss.  They needed to win Game 1 because they would have had the adjustment advantage for Game 7.

We can all agree that Frank Vogel out coached Erik Spoelstra whole series, but Spoelstra didn’t have to be perfect to win, he just needed to be able to respond to every aggressive chess move that Vogel made.  Vogel had the whole sporting community confused and actually thinking the Pacers were a better team than the Heat.  Ladies and Gentlemen let me assure you that the Heat were and are the better team in this series, but because of the extreme out coaching of Spoelstra, the Pacers looked like a Championship ready team.  Look at the line up man for man:

Starting PG

Hill

Chalmers

Pacers

Starting SG

Stephenson

Wade

Heat

Starting PF

West

Bosh

Tie

Starting C

Hibbert

Haslem/Bosh

Pacers

Frontcourt Bench

Hansbrough/Mahimi/ etc

Battier/Anderson/

Heat

Backcourt Bench

Augustin/ Green

Cole/Allen

Heat

Best player on team

George

James

Heat

You may not totally agree with who I said is better after watching the series but pound for pound Wade is better than Stephenson (watch Game 7 if you don’t believe), West and Bosh is a tie, Bosh averaged 18pts and 8reb in the regular season West averaged 15pt and 7rebs again a wash.  The Heat have the better superstar and the better bench.  So Heat won 4 out of 7 categories, and what closed the gap was Frank Vogel’s coaching.

Vogel did make a questionable coaching decision at the end of Game 1, and that cost him the series.  The whole series went tit for tat, and every time Vogel implemented a game plan sto stop whatever the Heat did he won, but by the time they reached game 7 it was Spoelstra’s turn, and Vogel didn’t have the luxury of adjusting a game plan.  Imagine if Vogel would have changed his Game 6 strategy going into Game 7 and the same outcome happened, in Game 7 (blow out).  We would have killed him for changing his plan from what worked in Game 6.  Instead Spoelstra had the luxury of going into Game 7 knowing what Vogel had planned.  So imagine if the Pacers won Game 1, then Heat adjust win Game 2, the Pacers adjust win Game 3, Heat adjust  win Game 4, eventually that would led to a Game 7 with Vogel having the adjustment advantage.

Now I don’t want to totally throw Spoelstra under the bus, because he made great adjustments for Game 7.  He took Wade off George and let James guard him the whole game (George fouled out and only had 7pts).  He also made the early offensive game plan to get Wade and Bosh involved because we all know James can get his whenever.  Getting Wade and Bosh involved early helped them be more active on the defensive end.   Another great strategy change was the Heat trapping and pressuring the ball handler.  This is great because the Pacers are not great ball handlers as a team, it slowed down their offensive sets so they didn’t have the whole shot clock to pound the ball down low, and lastly it allowed the smaller Heat post defenders to fight their way out of bad post positions.  Another great coaching adjustment for the Heat was immediately double teaming the ball in the post.  They never really let West and especially Hibbert get the ball in man to man situations, if you can find a major fault in Hibberts game besides inconsistency it would be that Hibbert is not a good passer out of the post, so he couldn’t take advantage of the double teams.  So again Spoelstra did his homework and came out with a game plan that led to a complete blow out in Game 7.

Going back to the main point if the Pacers win Game 1, all these adjustments for the Heat would have been in Game 6 and then the ball (no pun) would have been in Vogel’s court and we have seen that when he has the ball or plan on his side the Pacers typically get the victory.  Let’s be honest we really didn’t want to see the Spurs vs Pacers, everyone just wanted to see LeBron and the Heat lose.  So for the Haters enjoy the Finals, because you’re actually going to watch the Finals.  If Vogel manhandled Spoelstra like this, wait til he gets a load of Pop!

Jason “Big J” Allen

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