1. Don't obsess over the playoffs the entire year. Its a marathon, not a sprint. Indiana was so desperate to make sure they got a game 7 at home against Miami that they overplayed all season. Teams like Miami, San Antonio, and even OKC get that sometimes things get bad for a bid and you just roll with it. Sometimes you drive fast, sometimes when your playing bad teams you slow it down a bit. They were running 100 mph for all 82 games and I think they were exhausted. The Pacers need to "pace' themselves.
2. Get a bench. To compound the problems Indiana had with playing so hard all season is that most of the wear and tear was on their starting five, especially Hibbert. People were trying to figure out Hibbert this year and I think the main culprit is he was just too tired. The lack of a bench kills any team, but it seemed to hurt this particular team even worse. If a starter wasn't playing well, there was no spark coming in to help.
3. Do not trade away heart and soul guys. Danny Granger was missed and replacing his leadership with a zilch like Evan Turner who never fit in was a foolish move that made no sense either statistically or emotionally. Granger rounded into shape with LA late in the season and could have given the Pacers valuable bench minutes. But most of all, you can replace leaders. When the trade was made, someone from Miami pointed to Indiana's slide and said "that is why we haven't traded Udonis Haslem." That was on Bird, I don't think anyone wanted to trade Granger. Turner clearly was ready to play for a team looking to win a championship.
If there were three things that a championship team built to be the Heat could do to lose, these were the three things and these donkeys somehow managed to do them all. Unbelievable.