Heat downplaying shift in home-court advantage in series with Pacers
The Miami Heat got their road split in the first two games of these Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers. But the two-time defending champions aren't expecting an easy go of it the rest of the way just because they hold that advantage.
LeBron James and the Heat grabbed home-court advantage from the Pacers with their Game 2 victory Tuesday.
Michael Conroy / AP
By Charlie McCarthyFOX Sports Florida
MIAMI -- If Miami Heat are taking extra satisfaction in stealing home-court advantage from the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals, they aren't expressing it.
The Heat won Game 2 at Indiana on Tuesday night to tie the best-of-seven series 1-1. Miami now is set to host three of the remaining five games beginning with Game 3 on Saturday night.
That likely frustrates the Pacers, who won the conference's top seed and home-court postseason edge after openly saying those items were goals this season.
"Yeah, but with one game they can get it back," LeBron James said following Thursday's practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. "It's not our concern. We go out and play basketball at a high level.
"Both teams won on each other's floor -- we've proven that the last couple of years. We have to protect our home but we can't go out there saying just because we're back home we get an automatic win. We gotta play."
The Heat defeated the Pacers in last year's seven-game conference finals after having entered the series with the home-court advantage.
"They won a game here last year and (our) home-court advantage went away. We had to figure out a way to get it back," Dwyane Wade said. "It's not really a body blow when you're a good team and you feel you can win on the road."
If the current series goes the distance -- Indiana will have to win at least once in Miami for that to happen -- the Pacers would host Game 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
That won't be easy. Miami is the only remaining playoff team unbeaten at home this postseason. The two-time defending NBA champions have won their past eight playoff home games overall.
Indiana could benefit greatly with three days off between games, as forward Paul George recovers from a concussion. He suffered the injury late in Game 2 when Wade's knee collided with his head during a scramble for a loose ball. George's status for Game 3 is questionable.
"Obviously, a concussion is very serious," James said. "We don't have concussion tests as extensive as the NFL's -- it doesn't happen as much. But I think all of us would have played through it under the circumstances."
George, who wore a red (no-contact) jersey at practice Thursday, is averaging 21.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists this postseason.
Wade made a point to say George's injury happened "when my knee hit his head, not when I hit him with my knee." The Heat guard added he hoped George plays in Game 3.
"Hopefully, all is well and he's out there and he's Paul George on Saturday," Wade said. "We want to make sure both teams have all their weapons."