NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Pacers win Game 2 over Heat, 97-93

Pacers win Game 2 over Heat
Pacers win Game 2 over Heat
May 24 2013 Miami FL USA Indiana Pacers point guard George Hill 3 is defended by Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers 15 and center Chris Bosh 1 in the fourth quarter of game two of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena The Pacers won 97 93 Robert Mayer USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals continued on Friday and we witnessed another close game. This time, though, it was the Indiana Pacers that came away with a victory. Here’s the recap from last night’s contest.

Indiana wins Game 2 on the road over Miami
In Game 1, the Indiana Pacers played well enough to win over the Miami Heat, but were defeated by a Lebron James’ game-winning layup as time expired. On Friday night in another close contest, this time it was James who was the goat.

Behind a dominant effort by center Roy Hibbert, Indiana won Game 2, 97-93. Hibbert led the Pacers with 29 points and ten rebounds. All-Star Paul George added 22.

Miami was led by Lebron James’ 36 points, eight rebounds, and three steals, but the big story of the game was his turnovers. James had five of them, including two big ones in the final minute. With the Pacers up two, he had a pass stolen away by Indiana’s David West. The next trip down the court, still down by two points, another one of James’ passes was tipped away and the Pacers collected the ball, drawing a foul. After the ensuing two free throws, the game was out of reach.

James certainly had another strong game – that much can’t be disputed. But his two turnovers helped prevent Miami from winning the game. James will get all of the criticism for his willingness to pass the ball away rather than take the potential game-tying shot near the end of the game, but Miami has plenty of guys on their roster capable of making big plays. I didn’t have as big of a problem with the decision to pass in that second instance as the game wound down as I did with the type of pass that he tried to make – a fairly uncalculated off-balance throw.

In the recap of Wednesday’s game, I mentioned that Indiana needed to focus on keeping Miami guard Dwyane Wade in check. Wade, who has been lackluster this postseason battling an injury, played well in Game 1 but struggled with 14 points on only 6-14 shooting. His six rebounds and five assists proved he didn’t play a terrible game, but Indiana can live with only 14 points from him – especially when the rest of the Heat roster doesn’t produce. Chris Bosh, the other member of the Big Three, had a solid game. But he, too, made only 6-14 shots and added only five rebounds.

Still, the Heat could have been saved if they got more from other players … but that wasn’t the case. Starting power forward Udonis Haslem had only one point. Ray Allen had six off the bench. Shane Battier had none in 14 minutes. Norris Cole was 1-6 and had only three. No other Miami player scored more than Chris Andersen’s seven points and outside of James, Wade, and Bosh, the Heat shot only 32% from the field. Miami doesn’t need big numbers from their reserves, but they do generally need at least one other player to step up. And that didn’t really happen on Friday. Andersen played well in his limited minutes, but didn’t have the kind of impact he did in the series opener.

For the Pacers, the big thing was getting more out of their starting guards. The combination of George Hill and Lance Stephenson scored only 12 points in the Pacers’ overtime loss in Game 1. But on Friday, the duo scored 28 points on 50% shooting. Stephenson added eight rebounds and five assists. The team got far more out of their backcourt on Friday and it made a difference.

All five starters for Indiana scored in double figures and played well. It’s a good thing because the Pacers’ reserves were largely MIA, scoring only five points in limited minutes.

One note of importance on the Pacers’ bench was that Sam Young suffered a sprained injury during the game. Young hasn’t been a huge contributor, but has been one of the Pacers’ four main reserves. If he can’t go in Game 3, the team will need someone else to step up to play minutes – possibly Gerald Green, who’s played sparingly so far this postseason.

On Sunday, the series moves to Indianapolis for Game 3.

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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');