Danny Granger's plot from the outset was to antagonize the Miami Heat players to the point that they would foolishly react and do something stupid.

Although Granger didn't do anything himself to get the Heat to bait in the end, Miami did lose its cool during Game 5. The team will be without Udonis Haslem for Game 6 tonight and without Dexter Pittman for the next three games, as Indiana tries to come back from a 3-2 deficit at home.

So who comes out winning here in the battle of suspensions?

Granger, who has picked up three technical fouls during the series, is iffy for tonight. He's dealing with a sprained left ankle that forced him out of the last game as he tried to slow down LeBron James and garner some respect for the Pacers, whom were called "soft" by team president Larry Bird.

A limited Granger will not go well if the Pacers look to force a Game 7. He's averaged just 13 points in the series, after scoring 21.4 per game against Orlando in the first round.

The suspensions doled out by the league could hurt Miami since they don't have Chris Bosh and David West, Roy Hibbert and Tyler Hansbrough could give them problems on the court.

The NBA banished Haslem last night after it was determined that his foul on Hansbrough was too excessive. Both of Haslem's arms connected Hansbrough's face as he went up for a shot. Less than a minute before that, Hansbrough was called for a flagrant-1 after he took a swipe at the ball and hit Dwayne Wade in the head, causing a gash in the Heat star's head.

The league upgraded Hansbrough's foul to a flagrant-2 and did not suspend him, but we could see how critical it could be not having Haslem in the game.

Just a benchwarmer, Lance Stephenson's antics during the third quarter in Game 3 still lingered in the minds of the Heat when Pittman, who has logged just six minutes during the postseason, delivered an elbow to the seldom used Stephenson.

Pittman's elbow, probably more vicious than Metta World Peace's elbow shot to James Harden, struck Stephenson in the throat. Cameras caught Pittman winking at the Heat bench.

So now the suspension of the two bigs, especially Haslem's and Bosh's injury puts Miami in an uncomfortable position that could very well mean that they will have to rely more than ever on Ronny Turiaf and expecting more minutes out of Juwan Howard and with a likely appearance from Eddy Curry as they will have to tussle down in the paint against Hibbert, West and Hansbrough.

Going up against a questionable Granger or now missing your best big after Bosh, the Heat wound up going for the bait.

Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at elpiloto137@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc

 

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