In my previous post about the Heat, ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-g) I said they should fear the Chicago Bulls and 4 other teams. One of those teams happens to be Chicago’s division rival the Indiana Pacers. Just like Chicago, Indiana thrives in the halfcourt set and can rebound and defend extremely well. The difference between them and Chicago is the fact that they’re bigger and more athletic. In last year’s playoffs the Heat disbanded them in six games, while having to play without Chris Bosh for most of the series. But even when Bosh was in the lineup Indiana exploited some of Miami’s weaknesses. The weaknesses Indiana exploited was Miami’s lack of a halfcourt offense, lack of a true bigman and inability to get rebounds against big frontlines. The problem Indiana faced was their inability to do it consistently. Some games they would feed Roy Hibbert and David West down low in the post and dominate them there, while in other games they would get content with running a fast paced game that featured turnovers and alot of missed 3pt attempts. Against the Heat last year they suffered sometimes because they lacked a go to scorer. Other problems that hindered them was their lack of pg stability, speed/athleticism and bench production. During the offseason they solved those problems. At the pg position they traded away Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones for a 7fter named Ian Mihimmi. That move bulked up their frontline and provided an athletic big off the bench. The trade also gave George Hill the starting spot without question. D.J. Augustine and Gerald Green were players they picked up in free agency that helped them solidify their bench and add more speed and athleticism as well as leadership. Even without one of their main guys, that guy being Danny Granger,they’re tied for 4th in the East at 26-17 and ranked #1 in total defense. When it comes to rebounding they’re #1 in that also at 45.7reb per game. They’re ranked 30th in the league at PPG (91.0) while allowing the fewest PPG (89.3). Not to mention they rank 3rd in the league in blocks ppg at 6.9 meaning they don’t give up many layups. And in numerous games this season in tight situations Paul George has emerged as their go to guy. The Pacers have now developed an identity that replicates a hard nosed feisty defensive team that shows heart and will scrap to the finish, e.g., the Chicago Bulls. The Miami Heat struggle in the Halfcourt and in the rebounding department (Ranked 30th at 31.9PPG) and those are the two aspects Indiana thrives in. In a series against the Heat they’ll have half the battle won by making it a halfcourt affair.