On Sunday afternoon the Indiana Pacers took down the Miami Heat by a scoreline of 107-96, taking a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference matchup. The win was a huge one for both the psyche of the Pacers as a unit, and to show the sporting world as a whole that they will dethrone Miami this spring.
Indiana took control from the very beginning of the game, jumping out to a 30-24 lead at the end of the first quarter, which was buoyed by great ball movement and an uncanny shooting ability. Surprisingly enough, this shooting prowess continued for the entirety of the game, as the Pacers shot 42.1% from three point range and 51.5% on field goals as a whole. This offensive prowess was buoyed by an attacking mentality, which led to Indiana taking 38 free throw attempts, had each of their five starters score more than 15 points and should have Miami scared about the rest of the series.
Aside from just putting in a good offensive performance, Indiana also stifled opportunities for Miami’s secondary players, as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade contributed 52 of the team’s 96 points. Specifically, Chris Bosh was effectively taken out of the game because of the dominant interior presence of Roy Hibbert, and Miami were haunted by losing the rebounding battle 38-29.
Furthermore, the length of Paul George, Lance Stephenson and David West made it nearly impossible for the Heat to find open shots on the outside, leading them to shoot 26.1% on three point field goals. While stopping the Heat from flourishing for an entire series will be nearly impossible, it looks as if Indiana is genuinely prepared to not back down and to make life miserable for them in the lane.
All in all, Indiana brought a mix of attacking impetus on the offensive end and a battling mentality on the defensive side of the ball that hasn’t been seen in quite some time, but that should scare Miami. Of course, there is virtually no way that they will stifle the Heat for the next six games, but with continued effort on both ends of the ball and a positive teamwide attitude, there is no doubting that this will be the year that Indiana dehtrones Miami.