After much criticism for the way that they lost Game 1 in Miami, the Indiana Pacers defeated the defending champions on the road in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The series is now tied at one game per side as the team’s back their bags for Indiana.
Roy Hibbert proved that the Miami Heat have no answer for him. Miami’s lack of size is well-documented by their rebounding struggles, and probably more than Erik Spoelstra would like to, are forced to play Chris Bosh at the center position. The 7’2″ Hibbert chipped in a career-high 29 points on just 15 shots to go along with 10 rebounds. Six of the big man’s ten rebounds were offensive; his work on the glass led to second chance after second chance for the Pacers.
Frank Vogel had said after a one point loss on a buzzer-beating lay-up from LeBron James in Game 1, “Our belief in our ability to beat this team has strengthened after Game 1. Our familiarity in the playoffs, in the playoff series grows with each day, grows with each game, and there’s a lot of things we can definitely do better.”
Apparently, these were not just words for a young Pacers squad. From the opening tip, Indiana was able to dictate the pace and frustrate the Heat at both ends of the floor.
Indiana shot 50% from the floor, 81% from the free-throw line, and 41% from deep. While the Pacers had trouble possessing the ball at times, they did limit their on-ball turnovers. This alone limits transition opportunities for the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Miami as a team totaled just 8 fast break points.
King James was the lone superstar for the Miami Heat in Game 2. LeBron posted a stat line that included 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Unfortunately for Miami, the MVP’s decision-making was questionable down the stretch. He finished with 5 turnovers by his lonesome, including two in the final minute that may have ultimately cost the Heat the game.
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Luckily for the Heat, they got bailed out by LeBron’s game-winning lay-up in Game 1. Otherwise, they would be heading into Indiana down 2-0 in the series.
In a game when tempers flared, stars shined, and technical fouls were of a premium, their was humor still involved. After Sam Young was given a technical foul in the second quarter, Pacers’ assistant and potential NBA head coach Brian Shaw was given a technical of his own for yelling, “Ball don’t lie!”, after Ray Allen missed the free-throw.
The Pacers will welcome the Heat into Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday night. In a crucial Game 3, both teams look to take control of momentum and the series.