Indiana Pacers 97-93 Miami Heat
Series tied 1-1
For the second straight game of the Eastern Conference finals, LeBron James and Paul George played a personal duel of anything you can do, I can do better. But this time it was the Indiana Pacers who beat the Miami Heat.
The pair were rarely more than a couple of feet away from each other on the court, with the closing seconds of the third quarter a microcosm of the James-George tussle. First George shimmied to break past James into the paint for a dunk that also drew a foul from Chris Birdman Andersen and a further point. James immediately responded with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from well outside the line.
But after James' triumph in Game One, this time the Heat superstar stumbled in the final stretch, conceding a crucial turnover with Miami's last meaningful possession of the game. At the end of the fourth quarter James twice coughed up possession to David West as the Heat tried to recover a 4-point deficit.
James scored 36 points, on 14-of-20 field goal shooting, plus 8 rebounds. George replied with 22 points, 9-16 field goals, plus 6 assists.
It was George who found stronger support, with all the Indiana starters reaching double figures: Roy Hibbert, so controversially off the court for the final play of Game One, led the Pacers with 29 points and 10 rebounds, George Hill added 18 points, West 13 points and Lance Stephenson 10 points. For the Heat, Chris Bosh scored 17 points and Dwyane Wade 14.
After the overtime disappointment of Game One, the Pacers found more ways to use their size advantage, winning the rebound battle 39-32. Indiana also got the better of the 3-pointers, shooting 42% to 32%.
Indiana led for most of the first half-hour, and by as much as 13 points shortly before half-time.
This was only Miami's fourth defeat in their last 50 games. Indiana need three more in the next five games. The series will now go to Indianapolis on Sunday tied at 1-1 and with the Heat having conceded home-court advantage.
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image: © Keith Allison