Heat Check: Indiana’s fast start in Game 1 dooms Miami
A Game 2 victory will give the Miami Heat a much-desired road split in the Eastern Conference finals.
Of course, the Heat will need to play much better than they did in Game 1.
Indiana scored the first seven points and led wire-to-wire — ahead by as many as 19 points late in the third quarter — en route to a 107-96 victory against the Heat in the series opener on Sunday afternoon.
Game 2 will be Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"This is the first game. They drew the first blood," said Dwyane Wade, who scored 27 points. "We gotta come and figure it out."
Inconsistent through much of the postseason’s first two rounds, the Pacers relied on a well-balanced scoring attack and active defense to deal Miami its second loss in 10 playoff games.
"They play well against us. I didn’t believe all that bunk about the first two rounds," Shane Battier said.
LeBron James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Chris "Birdman" Andersen left the bench to contribute 14 points and Ray Allen had 12.
Other Heat players struggled, however. Chris Bosh hit four of 12 shots, missing all five shots from 3-point rage. Mario Chalmers shot two of nine. The Heat hit just six of 23 from behind the arc.
"There were a lot of mistakes and they took advantage of it," James said. "Obviously, the 3-point shot is a big thing for our team and tonight they weren’t there. No one had it going."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra opted to begin with a smaller unit that included Battier instead of Udonis Haslem, who then began the second half.
No matter who was on the court for Miami, Indiana moved the ball and created offensive opportunities. The Pacers attacked and drew fouls, hitting 29 of 37 free throws. The Heat shot 15 foul shots, hitting 10.
"That’s probably us at our worst defensively," said Spoelstra, whose team is 0-2 in the playoffs when allowing 100-plus points.
"Our overall disposition has to be much tougher, much stronger, no doubt about it, regardless who we have on the floor."
Miami trailed 50-45 with 2:34 left in the first half but was behind by 10 at halftime.
After falling behind by 19 points with two minutes left in the third quarter, the Heat pulled within 83-74 on Wade’s lay up with 10:30 remaining. But Paul George answered with a jumper and Miami never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
George scored 24 points to leads six Pacers in double-figure scoring. Center Roy Hibbert, up and down during the first 13 playoff games, had 19 points and nine rebounds.
"We were reactionary to everything," Allen said. "We need to be more proactive."
THE TURNING POINT
After Bosh’s jumper with 10:48 left in the third quarter brought Miami within 58-50, the Pacers went on an 11-2 run during the next four minutes.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Hibbert indicated early he would be ‘on’ and not ‘off’ in Game 1. He again played well against the Heat.
STAT OF THE GAME
Indiana shot 51.5 percent (35 of 68) and 42.1 percent (eight of 19) from 3-point territory.
The Heat and Pacers will play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in Indiana at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night.