The Indiana Pacers shut down the Miami Heat’s offense in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, winning 91-77 to force a win or go home game 7 Monday night. The Heat led by one at the half, but the Pacers outscored Miami 29-15 in the 3rd quarter and held them to 37 2nd half points.
Here’s how bad Miami’s offense was in Game 6:
—-The Heat’s 77 point total was the teams lowest of the playoffs.
—-The Heat shot 26/72, which comes out to 36.1 percent shooting. That was Miami’s lowest percentage of the entire season.
—-Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for their lowest combined point total of the season with 15.
—- Bosh shot just 1/8 from the field for 5 points, and Wade was 3/11 scoring 10 points. Their 4 combined made field goals was also the lowest since the two have been teammates.
—-After his huge game 5 where he scored 16 points on 8/9 shooting, Udonis Haslem was held scoreless for the first time this series. He played 16 minutes and was in foul trouble throughout the game. Haslem took only 2 shots and missed them both.
—- LeBron James was the only Heat player to score more than 10 points.
—-LeBron finished the game scoring a game high 29 points and adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Pacers did exactly what they wanted to do in game 6, obliterating the Heat in the paint and on the glass. Indiana outscored the Heat 44-22 in the paint and out-rebounded them 53-33.
As expected, the league suspended Chris Anderson for the game after he shoved Tyler Hansbrough to the ground in game 5. Joel Anthony took his place off the bench and was the Heat’s leading rebounder with 8.
Paul George was once again the leading man for the Pacers scoring a team high 28 points. For the 2nd game in a row, George was 11/19 from the field, but this time his team won. There was a very similar sequence in game 6 as there was in game 2 with Paul George throwing down a massive dunk over Chris Bosh, and then LeBron James coming right back with a 3.
Roy Hibbert played much than he did in game 5, scoring 24 points and taking in 11 rebounds. David West was the leading rebounder in the game with 14 boards. West finished with 11 points, all coming in the 2nd half. Although he didn’t have a great scoring game with 4 points, Lance Stephenson was very effective for hauling in 12 rebounds.
The player the Pacers needed to bounce back the most though was George Hill and he did just that. Hill finished with 16 points and 6 assists after scoring 1 point in game 5.
In the game, the Heat were able to cut Indian’s 17 late 3rd quarter lead to 4 points thanks to Mike Miller’s hot shooting, but the Pacers responded with an 11-1 run to put the game away.
What has happened to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in this series is absolutely remarkable. The Pacers have managed to make Bosh a complete non-factor, and Wade is clearly no where near 100 percent. The “Big 3” has changed to the “Big 1” with LeBron being the 1.
If the Heat are going to win this series, Udonis Haslem must play the way he did in games 3 and 5. The pattern for Haslem continued this series with him having a great game, followed by a poor game. The Heat are hoping that game 7 is a good one for Haslem.
Another option for the Heat is Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade magically going back to playing the way they are capable of playing. It was in last year’s game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals where Wade scored 40 points leading the Heat to a season-saving win over the Celtics. Miami can only dream of Wade having that type of performance in game 7 which will take place on Monday night from American Airlines Arena. Tip-off is set for 8:30pm.
For Indiana, if Roy Hibbert and David West can dominate the paint and the glass, the Pacers will be in business. The Heat’s offense being a one man show isn’t such a bad thing either.
With a win in game 7, the Pacers would advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000. The Lakers beat Indiana in that series 4 games to 2.