NBA PLAYOFFS: Pacers, 76ers, Thunder, Spurs coming up big in playoffs (36833)

OK, now it’s a series.

The Heat, playing without Chris Bosh, struggled to find the basket when it counted in Tuesday’s 78-75 home loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 2. The series is tied at one game each, with the third contest set for tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. in Indiana.

How much does the loss of Bosh hurt the Heat? LeBron James had 28 points and Dwyane Wade added 24. No one else on the roster had more than five points. That’s been one of the Heat’s weaknesses, lack of depth after the big three or, in this case, the big two.

“I just thought it was a matter of us limiting some of those other guys that came and hurt us [in Game 1],” said Pacers forward David West. “That was the biggest difference for us. Limiting some of the baskets and rebounds they got.”

In the other Eastern Conference series, the Philadelphia 76ers proved that maybe they didn’t just luck out against the Bulls. Doug Collins’ crew was masterful on defense as they limited Paul Pierce to seven points in Monday’s 82-81 win over the Celtics in Game 2.

Boston’s big three finished with 39 points. Rajon Rondo had just eight points. Philadelphia hosted Game 3 last night (Wednesday).

On the West Coast, the Thunder blitzed the Lakers 119-90 in Game 1. The second matchup was last night (Wednesday) in Oklahoma City.

Kobe Bryant cut his time at the podium short when asked if the Lakers could guard the Thunder. It was a great question because the Thunder shot 53 percent from the field and committed just four turnovers. Russell Westbrook had 27 points and Kevin Durant added 25.

At some point, the Lakers may have to think about putting either Bryant or Metta World Peace on Westbrook. Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake can’t come close to slowing him down.

The Spurs continued their playoff romp with a 108-92 win over the Clippers in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Tim Duncan (26 points, 10 rebounds) had his 133rd playoff double, double. The Spurs sure don’t look old. Game 2 is tonight in San Antonio.