LeBron James did everything in his power to win Game 5. The Miami Heat outscored the Pacers 30-13 in the 3rd quarter last night, putting Indiana away by winning game five 90-79 to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat are now one win away from advancing to its 3rd consecutive NBA Finals.
After Indiana did exactly what they do best in game 4, the Heat wouldn’t let it happen again. Miami only had one less rebound and scored 2 more points in the paint than the Pacers did in game 5. That’s a huge turnaround from what happened on Tuesday night, when the Pacers had 18 more rebounds and 19 more points in the paint than the Heat.
The turning point of the game came with 6:58 to play in the 3rd quarter with Indiana leading 51-49. George Hill just picked up his 4th foul and was forced to leave the game. DJ Augustin came in, and the game was never the same. The Heat went on a 21-6 run the rest of the quarter and led by 13 points heading into the 4th.
The one thing the Pacers can’t allow to happen is let the Heat play a fast paced style, and as soon as George Hill went out, that’s exactly what happened. The Pacers were no longer able to play its physical play, and Miami’s offense finally woke up.
LeBron James, who had a game high 30 points, keyed Miami’s 3rd quarter run by outscoring the Pacers by himself 16-13. For the 2nd time this series, Udonis Haslem had a superb game and helped give LeBron the help he was desperate for. Haslem scored 16 points on 8/9 shooting, including 10 in Miami’s dominant 3rd quarter. When Haslem is hitting shots, the Heat are in business because it opens everything up for them especially with Roy Hibbert being unable to camp out in the paint. In game 4, Haslem scored just 6 points and played 18 minutes.
Miami’s 3rd leading scorer was Mario Chalmers, who scored 12 points to go along with 6 assists. It’s almost scary that for the 2nd straight game, Chalmers has scored more points than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Bosh finished scoring 7 points on 3/7 shooting, and Wade had 10 points going 3/8 from the field. The fact that Miami has a 3-2 series lead with how poorly Wade and Bosh have played shows just how great LeBron has had to play in these games, and how well he’s come through.
Chris Anderson had an eventful game getting into a scuffle with Tyler Hansbrough shoving him to the ground in the first half. Both players received technicals on the play, although it didn’t look like Hansborough did anything wrong. There is a chance Anderson, who scored 4 points on 2/2 shooting and has hit 18 consecutive shots, gets suspended for a game which would be a blow to Miami’s front line.
For the Pacers, it’s been feast or famine for Lance Stephenson, and in game 5 he experienced famine scoring 4 points on 2/7 shooting. Stephenson has either been incredible, or a no show, nothing in between. George Hill was worse scoring 1 point and was 0/4 from the field. The Pacers can’t afford such poor production from their backcourt against a team as talented as the Heat.
Paul George had a team high 27 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort. Roy Hibbert scored 22 points, but only recorded 6 rebounds ending his streak of 3 straight 20-point 10-rebound games. David West had 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Game 6 will take place Saturday night at 8:30pm from Indianapolis. The Pacers can’t allow to let the Heat go on any big runs or else its season may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.