The Indiana Pacers tumultuous season mercifully came to a close Friday night with an embarrassing 117-92 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat win the series 4-2 to advance to the franchise’s 4th straight Finals. Miami will await the winner of Thunder/Spurs where it will look to win a 3rd consecutive championship.
For the 2nd year in a row, Indiana falls to the Heat in the Conference Finals after seemingly dedicating this season to finally getting past Miami.
After getting out to an early 9-2 lead, the Pacers dysfunction reached new heights. Miami turned a 7-point deficit into an 11-point lead at the end of the first, and a 26-point lead at halftime.
ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen said it best. Breen asked Van Gundy what Pacers coach Frank Vogal could say to his team and Van Gundy responded by saying, “We’ve had a good year. Bring it in.” Perfect.
By the 3rd quarter, Miami’s lead grew as big as 37 points, with the end result being a simple formality.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh led the way for the Heat scoring 25 points apiece, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each had 13, and Chris Anderson added 9 points and a team high 10 rebounds off the bench.
Miami out-rebounded Indiana 37-28, out-scored them in the paint 50-32, and as a team, shot 57.8 percent from the field.
For the Pacers, Paul George was the leading man once again. George scored a game high 29 points on 8/18 shooting.
David West added 16, and Lance Stephenson who was busy rubbing LeBron James’s mouth had 11. The much maligned Roy Hibbert had 8 points and 4 rebounds, and George Hill scored 9.
There may have never been a team in the history of the NBA that fell 2 games short of the Finals that had so many distractions, and was so disoriented.
But now, the Pacers have to take a good look at themselves in the mirror as the off-season looms.
The Heat meanwhile, will look to become the first team since the 2000-2002 Lakers to win 3 straight NBA championships.