Miami’s defense couldn’t figure out what Indiana was doing on offense, and the Pacers withstood Miami’s small ball attack on the other side of the court while cruising to a 107-96 win at home and a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as the leading scorers, the Heat couldn’t stop the regular season’s top team in the East.
Paul George led Indiana with 24 points on just 13 shots to go with seven dimes and four rebounds. Lance Stephenson only scored five points in the second half, but he was the reason Indiana jumped out to a double-digit first-half lead. If Stephenson and George outplay D-Wade and ‘Bron, this series will be lopsided in the opposite direction many observers prognosticated before Game 1.
To understand how thoroughly the Pacers dominated the Heat when they controlled possession: all five Indiana starters were in double-digits with less than half of the third quarter expired.
The Heat’s tandem of Wade and James combined for 52 points on 23-for-36 shooting from the floor. Chris Andersen surprisingly chipped in with 14 (6-for-7 shooting) and Ray Allen adding 12, but it wasn’t nearly enough for a five-pronged Indiana attack that looked the complete opposite of the Indiana team who lost two games on the road to an inferior Wizards team in the Conference Semifinals.
David West and Roy Hibbert each added 19 points and the latter returned to his early regular season dominance in the paint by limiting the Heat to just 4-of-10 shooting at the rim, per NBA.com.
We’re pretty sure LeBron still feels the curvature from David West’s mammoth shoulder on his sternum during his stint on the bruising power forward in the second half.
Both squads refused to submit to other’s roster changes forcing the action, so at one point you had David West chasing Ray Allen around screens, but Allen was unable to take advantage like the Pacers did with their superior length and girth on the other end.
The Pacers beat up on the Heat like many had predicted before Indiana’s late-season tailspin. Now the Pacers have a 1-0 lead on the Heat, with the pressure on the favored 2-time defending champions and 3-time Eastern Conference champions to steal Game 2 on Wednesday night.
Will the Heat even the series in Game 2?
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