Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Key To Miami-Indiana Series Is David West Vs. Shane Battier

Yesterday, entering a 2-2 series tie, The Indiana Pacers unraveled yet again at key moments during Game 5 of the Conference Semifinals against The Miami Heat. After scoring just eight points in Game 4, West finished Game 5 with just ten points on 5-13 shooting. Shane Battier had an excellent game contributing 13 points on 4-5 shooting from deep, while playing great defense.

The Pacers offense was awful, and much of that was due to Shane Battier's defense on David West. For the 1st half of this series LeBron James covered West, and that essentially put LeBron out of his comfort zone. The Heat made the adjustment of having Shane Battier guard West and he has succeeded in slowing down West. 

The Heat strategy has been to front West with Battier, while the Center waits on the weak side to help cover a pass from over the top. The most disappointing part of Indiana's Offense was the lack of flexibility or the ability to adjust. When West could not set up on the block or around the free throw line, the Pacers had no other counter play. In reality, the counter play was for a guard to hold the ball and hoist up a long 3 ball towards the end of the shot clock.

An NBA Playoff series is traditionally about making adjustments. The Pacers need to find a counter to the Heat defense. Fronting a player in the post usually means that a team is sacrificing some type of opening, but The Pacers just have to find it. One of those openings is possibly moving Roy Hibbert out to the perimeter to allow for a pass over the top. West and Hibbert must have good games to have any chance of winning Game 6 let alone this series. 
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