It’s just one game.
It will be difficult to overcome the heartbreak of losing an Eastern Conference Finals instant classic, but the Indiana Pacers will have to do it. It is easy for armchair quarterbacks around the world to criticize the final seconds of Game 1, while ignoring the totality of the situation. One play does not make a game, and one game does not make a series.
The truth is, there’s plenty of blame to go around for the Indiana Pacers. David West had 18 points in first half against the Miami Heat, but missed two key free throws late, and came up lame on his final two shots. As a team, Indiana missed eight free throws for the game, and had 20 turnovers. Looking at it from those aspects, Indiana was lucky to even be in the game for the win at the end.
Paul George had the chance to save the day for the Pacers, but he was the one who got beat defensively on the game’s final play. George also had a terrible turnover earlier in the game, accidentally passing the ball to his teammates on the bench. George himself was responsible for six turnovers total.
George Hill spent much of the night fumbling the ball and rolling around on the floor. Hill only had three turnovers tagged to him, but nearly gave the ball up several other times. Hill and Lance Stephenson combined for only 4-19 shooting.
With all of the shooting woes, turnovers and broken plays, the Pacers still took Miami to the limit. Indiana never took their foot off of the gas, and perhaps that was the problem. A team has to play nearly perfect to defeat these defending World Champions, and the Pacers certainly didn’t do that.
Despite the final outcome of Game 1, the Indiana Pacers showed the NBA universe that they can play with the best. Their is still a series to be played out, and the Pacers did not enter the 2013 NBA Playoffs to simply show that they can contend.