Throughout tonight’s game, the Indiana Pacers had moments that made you believe they were on their way to a 2-0 series lead. Lance Stephenson seemed unstoppable as it seemed every shot he was taking went in and the crowd was feeding off his energy. The best player in the world, LeBron James, had only 12 points heading into the final quarter and just when it seemed that this was the Pacers’ game to win, it turned out to be theirs to lose.
We all know the significance that a win tonight would have had for the Pacers — going up two games on the Miami Heat and then forcing a split in Miami could have meant the possibility to have three closeout games, with two of them being on their home court. We all know that including, James and the Heat. He and Dwyane Wade reminded us all why they are back-to-back NBA champions as they were able to storm back and snatch this game right away from the Pacers.
This is a tough loss for the Pacers based on the fact that for the most part the starters showed up to play again. Paul George definitely needs to shoot well above 4-of-16 from the field, but all five of the starters scored in double figures for the second time in this series. A huge key was the early foul trouble that hindered the first-half minutes for David West; he was such a force on the pick and roll in Game 1 and him not being on the floor early hurt the Pacers in their ability to find an offensive rhythm. West’s backup, Luis Scola, struggled mightily in his time in the game, shooting only 1-of-6 from the floor, with many of those being uncontested jumpers.
Moving forward to Game 3 on Saturday night, you can’t have your head down if you are the Pacers; sure, you are disappointed that you were unable to protect your home court, but you have to have the confidence to know that you can go to South Beach and still perform well. In the previous 13 matchups between the Heat and the Pacers, no team has been able to win two straight so you have to know that Game 3 can easily be yours for the taking.
Since the Game 1 victory, all the talk has been about the pressure that Miami would face needing to come out with a victory, and the Heat responded. Now the talk will be all about the Pacers needing to recapture home-court advantage and it will be up to them to respond to the challenge; coming back to Indianapolis down 3-1 in just not an option if they want to advance to the NBA finals. Time to fasten your seat belts because this is going to be one heck of series.