NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat Win Overtime Thriller Over Pacers, 103-102

2013 NBA Playoffs
2013 NBA Playoffs
May 22 2013 Miami FL USA Miami Heat small forward LeBron James 6 is congratulated by teammates power forward Chris Andersen 11 small forward Shane Battier 31 and point guard Norris Cole 30 on his game winning shot to beat the Indiana Pacers in overtime in game one of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena The Heat win 103 102 Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals got underway on Wednesday and Game one went down to the wire. LeBron James, as he has so often been, was the hero, scoring a game-winner as time expired in overtime. Here’s a recap of the thrilling series opener.

Miami wins Game 1 over Indiana behind Lebron James’ game-winning layup
If Wednesday’s game was any indication of what kind of series this will be, fans should be pleased.

With the game in overtime, the Miami Heat pulled out a last-second 103-102 win over the Indiana Pacers on a LeBron James basket as time expired.

James had his ninth career playoff triple double, but no bucket was bigger than his final one in overtime. Indiana forward Paul George played a spectacular game, but had an unbelievable gaffe at the end of the game. With James taking the inbounds pass, George came up to play him closely on defense. Unfortunately for him, George’s aggressive defense allowed James to easily get by him and score the basket.

George’s willingness to try to stop James is understood, but the forward badly misplayed the situation. Instead of being so aggressive, George should have backed off of James just a bit to ensure he didn’t leave the basket open. Doing that would have forced James to attempt a jump shot instead of getting a wide open layup. He’s a good shooter, but anything’s better than giving up an easy basket there. If the paint was clogged with a defender, it may have been a bit different. But George overcommitted and the quicker James simply went right by him.

The last second shot by James wasn’t the only big play at the end, though. With the game tied and only about 15 seconds left on the clock, James drove to the basket and scored a layup to put the Heat up by two. But on the next trip down the court, after a struggle for a loose ball, George was fouled by Dwyane Wade on a three-point shot. After he calmly nailed all three free throws, the Heat were suddenly down by one with only 2.2 seconds left before James’ theatrics.

The Pacers played solid defense against the Heat early on and that allowed them to get out to an early lead. Miami scored only 37 points against Indiana in the first half as the Pacers led by five at the break. But the Heat fought back, scoring 55 in the second to force the extra session.

On top of James’ big game, the Heat also got 36 points from the other two members of the Big Three, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. You expect a lot of production out of those players, but Miami got 16 big points and five rebounds from Chris Anderson off the bench. The Birdman was a perfect 7-7 from the field and easily had his best postseason game this year. With the rest of Miami’s reserves shooting only 2-16 from the field, Anderson’s performance just may have been the difference between winning and losing.

The Pacers, meanwhile, got some strong play from their frontcourt of George, David West, and Roy Hibbert. The trio combined for 76 points and Hibbert added nine rebounds. But it was the backcourt that couldn’t get things going. Lance Stephenson and George Hill scored only 12 points in 88 minutes of action, shooting only 4-19. To be fair, Stephenson had a team-high 12 rebounds and Hill’s seven assists and five steals led the team as well. But the pair simply has to produce some more offense eating up that many minutes and taking so many shots.

Indiana’s effort was admirable, but a loss is still a loss. If the Pacers aren’t able to win Game 2, this defeat will hurt even more.

Game 2 will be on Friday in Miami.

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Anson Whaley
Anson Whaley is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a current member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Mr. Whaley has also been a credentialed member of the media for various events. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');