Roy Hibbert is one of the best rim protectors in the NBA, and at the end of game 1, Pacers coach Frank Vogel decided to take him out. In his place was Sam Young. Hibbert being allowed LeBron James to get to the basket on 2 consecutive possessions including a lay-up at the buzzer to give the Heat a dramatic game one win in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals 103-102.
It originally looked like the Heat had the game won at the end of regulation, but Paul George made a desperation 32-foot three pointer. George’s shot tied the game at 92 and sent the game to overtime. In overtime, the Heat were up 101-99 with 6 seconds left when Paul George threw an inbounds pass that was stolen Norris Cole. Somehow, George Hill got it back, passed it to Paul George who was then fouled by Dwyane Wade shooting a three. George made 3-cold blooded free-throws to give the Pacers the lead.
The Heat had one more chance though. With 2.2 seconds left, and Roy Hibbert out of the game, LeBron James was able to get passed Paul George to an uncontested rim for a game winning shot at the buzzer. James’s buzzer beater was the 2nd of his post-season career.
While everyone will remember LeBron’s game winner, he also recorded his 9th career playoff triple double in the game scoring a game high 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The unsung hero of the game for the Heat was the “Birdman” Chris Anderson. After averaging under 5 points per game in the regular season, Anderson was huge off the bench scoring 16 points on 7-7 shooting, and adding a game high 3 blocks.
Dwyane Wade had 19 points, and Chris Bosh had 17 points in the win. The biggest bucket for Bosh came with under a minute to go in overtime with the Heat down 3. Bosh converted an and one to tie the game at 99.
For the Pacers, Paul George had an abysmal first half scoring just 2 points. The 2nd half was a different story. George scored 19 second half points, and was even better in overtime scoring 8 of the Pacers 10 points. What George will probably remember from the teams game one loss is letting LeBron James get by him on the last play of the game.
While Paul George led the Pacers in the 2nd half, it was David West who led his team in the first half. West scored 18 first half points, before foul trouble limited him to 6 points the rest of the way. Roy Hibbert had a solid game with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
After carrying the Pacers past the Knicks in game 6 of the last series with 25 points, Lance Stephenson was very ineffective offensively for Indiana. Stephenson scored 7 points on 2/10 shooting. He did have a game high 12 rebounds, but didn’t do much else.
The biggest surprise for Indiana was how well Tyler Hansbrough was coming in for David West. Hansbrough had his best game of the playoffs with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel will face a lot of criticism the next few days for taking Roy Hibbert out of the game at the end of overtime, a decision that may have cost Indiana what would have been a huge win. The Pacers have been a resilient team all year though and should bounce back well as this series moves forward.
Game 2 is scheduled for Friday night at 8:30pm from American Airlines Arena. The Heat will be looking to take a commanding 2-0 series lead back to Indianapolis