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LeBron’s triple-double, game-winner in overtime lead Heat to Game 1 win over Pacers

May 23, 2013, 1:16 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James drives through Indiana Pacers' defense during their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami Reuters

The Pacers gave the Heat all they wanted in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but in the end, the game’s best player — along with some questionable coaching strategy down the stretch — was too much for Indiana to overcome.

LeBron James finished with a triple-double line of 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, and hit the game-winning layup as time expired in overtime to give the Heat the 103-102 victory.

For most of the game, the Pacers dictated the tempo, and were able to impose their will defensively. It was a physical contest that was defended well by both teams throughout, and the referees called it tight. There were a combined 25 first half turnovers, with only four total fast break points over the first two periods.

David West carried the load offensively for Indiana in the first half with 18 points, and Hibbert was strong inside with 11. Paul George had only two points at the half, but emerged for a superstar-level performance the rest of the way, finishing the game with 27 points.

Miami began to find its offense a bit in the second half, but could never gain much separation. The Heat’s biggest lead was just five, and the Pacers seemed to be able to answer each time Miami made its push.

In a game that was largely a back-and-forth affair throughout, it was perhaps fitting that the teams traded shots at the buzzer to end the fourth quarter and the overtime session.

At the end of regulation, with the Pacers down three with possession and the seconds ticking away, George first passed up a decent look at a three, before getting the ball back from West and rising up to bury the shot from more than 30 feet out to tie the game and send it to the extra frame.

Once we got to overtime, that’s where some questionable rotation decisions from Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel came into play, and had many second-guessing his choices afterward.

In a decision to matchup with the Heat’s small lineup where they were playing Chris Bosh at the five, Vogel removed rim protector Roy Hibbert with a little more than 10 seconds remaining. James seized the opportunity, and once he got the switch and had George Hill defending, he took off toward the rim past Hill for the layup which was far too easy given the time remaining and the game situation.

With the Heat leading by two, George was fouled on a three-point attempt by Dwyane Wade with 2.2 seconds remaining. There was certainly contact, but it was an iffy call at best that the referees usually let slide. George sank all three free throws, putting his team up one.

On the game’s final possession, Vogel once again took Hibbert out of the lineup. The ball was inbounded to James, and George was out of position defensively, so James drove left right by him and to the rim for the uncontested layup as time expired.

Tough one for the Pacers to lose like that, considering how well they played throughout. They won’t be satisfied with any type of moral victory, obviously, but they can at least be assured that they seem to have plenty of favorable matchups in this series that should allow them to compete closely with Miami as they did in Game 1 — a game that undoubtedly, the Pacers feel like they could have won.

  1. gepsep - May 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Loved the game.
    But the thing that i think is pretty funny is that there are articles in a lot of sites claiming LeBron is clutch now. After hitting this shot.
    Well it was kind of clutch. But, for me and i think for others, LeBron has to have the confidence to knock down a jumper or a floater at the buzzer. Layup, being called the ”hardest shot” in basketball is also the easiest shot so i dont see hm hitting the shot as clutch. It was a standard thing he had to do.

    • bougin89 - May 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      I consider clutch making the game winning shot, whether it be a 35 foot runner at the buzzer, a 18 foot jumper, ferocious dunk, or even a left handed layup. It’s still a game winner regardless. If Lebron hits 5 more game winners throughout this series and the finals(assuming they get there) and all of them are layups, that’s still extremely clutch in my book.

      That being said HOW COULD THE PACERS LET HIM GET TO THE RIM THAT EASY? I’m not a fan of either team but if you’re the Pacers you have to think you let that one slip away too easily. You have to force James to take a jumper there.

      Great game though, I hope they are all like this one.

  2. iowahbr - May 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I am a casual NBA fan but that Vogle did not double James and have Hibbert in the game to guard the basket show s that even the pros sometimes lose touch with the basics at crunch time. Either that or I am just listening to too much NBA color man baloney.

  3. nobandwagonridersallowed - May 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Ahhh… The sweet smell of morning victory! I love to hear all the Heat hate, especially after a tough win.

    Those are the kind of games that make you love the playoffs. Best of all, I loved Lebrons reaction, or lack thereof … It said, “this is what I do. I just helped my team win one game. At this point I’m not celebrating winning a game unless it’s the last game of the NBA Finals and it’s for that trophy” (paraphrasing)

  4. aewing1 - May 23, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    The King messed around and got a triple double.

  5. iowahbr - May 23, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    If you watched the game closely although the score was close each Pacer’s point was a battle and most of the Heat’s points came from them running their sets well. The Pacers need to move the ball quicker when their guards are doubled or the end results will be the same each game.

  6. stlouis1baseball - May 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    A great game…but incredibly tough loss. You simply can NOT give up a layup in that situation. You have to put the dude on his back at a minimum. Worse case…he wins it at the line. Under no circumstances do you give up a layup. That said…I like our match ups. Go Pacers!

  7. golfrangeman - May 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    There’s that pacer guy again bitching about heat fans crying. Look in the mirror dude, your the one crying.

    • stlouis1baseball - May 24, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      ??? Who is “that pacer guy?”

  8. soopreme - May 23, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I thought Jordan said Lebron couldn’t go left!!!

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 23, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Pacers totally controlled the game
    Heat had 20+ Turnovers.
    LBJ & Bosh in early foul trouble
    Cole/Battier/Allen combine to go 2-16
    Heat shot 16-25 from the line
    Best free throw shooter of all time misses a game clinching FT

    And still it took George to hit a leaning 30 footer to tie at end of 4th

    In OT, and extreeeeeeemly fishy call on Wade to send George to FT line for 3 with 2.2 left down by 2

    And still……..

    I’m just saying, if the Heat aren’t going to lose THAT game….

    My guess is that the Heat will play closer to their averages in the upcoming games. I’m also guessing that the Pacers will play closer to theirs.

    But I will also say that I was very uncomfortable that whole game, and I credit the Pacers for really executing their game plan. They’re good, no question. This is going to be a very tough series.

    Also, really enjoying having to watch these playoffs with former Bull Steve Kerr and former Pacer Reggie Miller. Kerr is also a former Spur, right? But at least Kerr hides it a little. Miller is not hiding it at all.

    • doctordunkenstein - May 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Reggie was hating hard last night. Him trying to justify that phantom call on wade at the end of the game was crazy. kerr was pretty bad in the bulls series too, but reggie takes the cake

  10. doctordunkenstein - May 23, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    “From the Elias Sports Bureau: Since LeBron James came into the league in 2003-04, nobody in the NBA has made more game-tying and go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of playoff games than LeBron, who is 7-of-16 on those shots. His 43.8 field-goal percentage on those clutch shots ranks the best in the NBA since his rookie season among players with at least 10 attempts.” Who would’ve thunk it? #clutch #mythbusters #themoreyouknow

    • indyshepherd - May 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      An un-contested layup is not clutch.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        The lay-up wasn’t clutch. The part about making a great defensive player like Paul George look like he wasn’t even there at the games biggest moment was clutch. The lay-up was just a lay-up.

  11. pacersfan1 - May 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Heat 256 you are so sharp. Did your mom help you come up with that dig. Man that cut me deep about as deep as LIL Wanye went into Bosh wife.

    • jimeejohnson - May 23, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      By the time this series is over you might just be the #1 LOSER on these blogs even if Indiana wins. Right now you just need to keep posting your childish, hate-filled, stupidity and you’ll easily achieve biggest LOSER ever status. Your only problem is your lack of command of standard written English: you are just not articulate enough to overtake some of the major losers (certain Lakers, Knicks, Magic, and Celtics fans) on these blogs. No worries: the sheer level of your ignorance should give you the edge you need to be the #1 LOSER, ever.

  12. trimaster1 - May 23, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    This game exposed a weakness for Indy: When The Heat drive into the lane, Indiana’s defense won’t pick up the weak side defense. Bird Man had quite a few easy dunks/layups as a result, even WITH Hibbert in the game.

    I understand Vogel taking his star big man out, but that still didn’t solve the problem. If anything, it made getting into the lane even easier.

    Bosch is the key here. If he can stay out of foul trouble hit his mid range jump shot (which he can do) Indy is in trouble, becasue that will force Hibbert out of the lane. Bosch is a decent passer also, so that won’t bode well for Indy.

    Heat in 5.

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