In the fourth quarter, Pacers All-Star forward Paul George hit a 30-foot three-pointer with .07 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.
George didn’t stop there.
Down two, late in overtime, Paul George was fouled by Dwyane Wade while attempting a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left. He made all three free throws to give the Pacers a one-point lead.
But, not to be outdone, the four-time MVP LeBron James drove passed George to make a layup as time expired to steal Game 1 for the Heat. Indiana’s 7-foot center Roy Hibbert was inexplicably on the bench for the final play of the game.
James recorded his first triple-double of the post-season, and ninth of his playoff career, finishing with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He shot 12-of-24 from the field. George finished with 27 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
Early on, James appeared to be on his way to another dominant playoff performance after scoring nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first quarter.
But, LeBron was sent to the bench when he picked up his second foul after inadvertently hitting George in the jaw with an elbow.
James failed to score in the second quarter in just over seven minutes on the court. The defending champs headed to the locker room down 42-37, which matched their lowest point total in one half during the postseason.
Even more telling, LeBron was Miami’s leading-scorer at halftime despite not scoring in the second quarter. The other two-thirds of Miami’s Big Three, Wade and Chris Bosh, combined for a meager eight points in the first half. Bosh attempted just two shots.
That’s right, the Heat didn’t have a player in double figures in the first 24 minutes. Not exactly a recipe for success.
King James and company played better in the second half as Miami managed to avoid falling behind 1-0 in the series as they did against the Chicago Bulls in the second round. LeBron scored 21 points in the second half, including four points in the final 10 seconds of overtime. Wade finished with 19 points and Bosh with 17.
Despite the Game-1 win, Miami appears to be headed for a hard-fought series against the physical, defensive-minded Pacers. Game 2 is Friday night in Miami.