For 59 minutes and 18 seconds, LeBron James was the best player on the court. He had scored a game high 36 points and was carrying the Heat. But in the last 42 seconds, with Miami down 2, LeBron committed two crucial turnovers which helped give the Pacers a critical 97-93 win to tie up the Eastern Conference Final series at one game apiece.
Just like last seasons Eastern Conference Semi-finals, the Pacers were able to win game 2 after losing the first game. Indiana hopes the series result is different this time around.
LeBron’s first turnover came on a pass intended for Ray Allen that was knocked away by David West. Indiana had a 24 second violation giving the Heat another chance. With 9 seconds remaining, looking again for Allen, LeBron’s cross-court pass was again tipped by West and taken by George Hill who was fouled. Hill proceeded to hit two game clinching free throws.
West played terribly for the first 58 minutes of the game. He was 1/8 shooting and couldn’t find his shot. In the last 2 minutes, West made his 2nd shot of the game to give the Pacers the lead, and forced LeBron into 2 turnovers in the final minute.
After an abysmal game one where he scored just 5 points, George Hill had a major bounce back game. Hill scored 18 points and sealed the game late with free-throws.
In game 2, Frank Vogel learned his lesson with Roy Hibbert. Vogel didn’t hesitate putting the Pacers biggest advantage on the court. Hibbert finished with a playoff career high 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
The highlight of the game went to Paul George who scored 22 points in the win. At the end of the third quarter, George accelerated past LeBron, and then posterized Chris Anderson with a massive throw-down dunk.
The Birdman played well scoring 7 points on 2/2 shooting, but wasn’t nearly as impressive as he was in game one. Following George’s tremendous dunk, LeBron came right back and hit a buzzer beating 3. A special moment followed when LeBron and Paul George high five’d each other going back to their benches.
The Heat trailed by as many as 13 points in this one, and didn’t have a lead since it was 9-8 in the first quarter. Miami led 91-89 with 3:31 to go, but finished the game missing their last 4 field goal attempts.
Dwyane Wade didn’t make much of a mark scoring 14 points. Chris Bosh flashed at times scoring 17 points, including hitting 2 three’s, but missed his last 5 shots of the game.
The Heat didn’t get much production from the point guard spot. Mario Chalmers scored 6 points in 29 minutes, and Norris Cole was 1/6 from the field and scored 3 points. The two Heat players that struggled the most though were Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier. Haslem scored 1 point in 14 minutes, and Battier was scoreless missing two three’s.
The series now shifts back to Indianapolis where the Pacers are 6-0 this post-season. The Heat are going to need much better production from Wade and Bosh, and need someone to pick up the slack at the power forward spot with Haslem not getting the job done.
The Pacers are in a good spot. If Indiana keeps riding its offense through Roy Hibbert and Paul George maintains his high level of play, the Pacers will have a chance going forward. Game 3 is set for Sunday night at 8:30pm from Bankersfield Life Fieldhouse.
The fans couldn’t have asked for anything more in the first 2 games of this series. Two down to the wire games is as good as it gets. Hopefully that trend continues Sunday.