The Indiana Pacers defeated the Miami Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The series is now tied 1-1, and headed back to Indiana on Thursday night. The Heat were without Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely, with a lower abdominal strain. He was clearly missed as the Heat, as a team, struggled often. LeBron James led the Heat with 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. He also set a Miami Heat playoff record, with 6 steals. Dwyane Wade had 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Both LeBron and Wade outscored the Pacers as a team 21-17 in the 4th quarter. However, it was not enough as both missed big shots down the stretch. Including 2 crucial missed free throws by LeBron with 54.3 seconds left that would have given his team the lead. “The game is not lost or won with two free throws,” James said. “But I definitely want to come through for my teammates. So I’ll get an opportunity again. I know I’ll be at the line again in that situation. Just go up and make em.” David West led the Pacers with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Danny Granger had a rough game, shooting 5-14 from the field, scoring just 11 points, and also fouled out late in the fourth. Paul George grabbed a double-double on 10 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his block on LeBron’s layup attempt with 1:22 left in the game that mattered the most.
The Big 3 has now become the Big 2, in Miami. Without Bosh, the Heat are going to have to figure out a way to contain the Pacers big men, and also how to play more like a team instead of just hoping Wade and James will bail them out each game. Miami shot 35 percent, got outrebounded50-40 and besides James and Wade, no other Heat player scored more than five points. ”Chris was missed, no doubt about it,” Wade said. “But that’s not the reason we lost this ball game.” Miami shot 1-16 from 3-point range, and are now a miserable 1-22 on the series from downtown. Heat Head coach, Erik Spoelstra said, “Welcome to the playoffs, for us.”That’s how we’re viewing it. This series has started. They won on our home court. Now we have to collect ourselves, gather ourselves and get ready for Game 3. That’s all that matters right now.”
The whole game was a grind. Indiana scored 16 points in the first seven minutes of the first half, and then scored 17 in the next 17 minutes. And even after a drought like that, Miami’s lead was only 38-33 at halftime. Miami was 0-for-7 on shots that would have pushed its margin to double digits in the first half. “Welcome to Eastern Conference playoff basketball,” said Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, a nod to the physical defense and high emotions throughout the game. With 9:53 left in the 4th quarter, Wade tried to create contact on a drive against Dahntay Jones, but there was no whistle. Clearly upset with the call, Wade went rumbling down the court and did his best Raffi Torres impression on Pacers guard Darren Collison. Wade was called for a flagrant-1 foul, and the Pacers lead ballooned to nine. Heat would go on to score the next six points, as tensions were certainly high. With 7:25 left in the game, Danny Granger and LeBron James got into a heated argument as they got tangled up down low. Technical fouls were called on both players, which also happened to be the only type of foul called on LeBron in this game. Surprisingly, in a game that saw 47 personal fouls, not one of them was called on LeBron.
The Miami Heat found themselves with the ball and down 3 on the last possession of the game, but Mario Chalmers came up short on a left-wing three pointer and just like that, the series was tied. Pacers now look to have the momentum, with the next two games on their home-court, and the Heat short-handed with no Bosh. It’s going to take a real effort from the Heat, as a team, to overcome the shortage of Bosh. No 2 players in the NBA can beat a whole team each night, and that’s exactly what the Heat are asking from Wade and LeBron at this point. After a Game 1 loss, the Indiana Pacers have now turned the tables, and have all the momentum on their side as they set to clash back home on Thursday night, and try to take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
- James’ six steals were a Heat playoff record.
- Trying to exploit the size advantage with Bosh out, the Pacers gave C Roy Hibbert three shots in the first 1:11 of the game. He got three the rest of the game.
- Wade is now 39-11 in home playoff games.
- James will play his 100th playoff game Thursday.
- James is now shooting 58% from the free throw line in one possession games with a minute or less remaining in the 4th quarter.