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Pacers get big games from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, take Game 2 from Heat to even the series

May 25, 2013, 12:45 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

After the way Game 1 between the Heat and the Pacers went down, Game 2 could have gone one of two ways. Either Miami could have received the wake-up call delivered by Indiana and then come out with a dominant and inspired performance, or the Pacers could continue to make life difficult for the defending champs, and be in position once again to steal home court advantage in the final moments.

Indiana proved the latter to be true, and for the second straight game that it was a troublesome matchup for the Heat while battling for all 48 minutes. Behind huge games from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, and thanks to stifling LeBron James defensively in the game’s last couple of possessions, the Pacers took Game 2 97-93 to even the Eastern Conference Finals at a game apiece.

Hibbert is there primarily for defensive purposes, so when he puts in a dominant performance offensively as he did in this one, it’s simply a bonus. The Pacers’ key big man finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of 15 shooting, and yes, remained in the game for defensive purposes in the final few possessions.

George didn’t put up quite the numbers that Hibbert did, but he played at an elite level in stretches for the second straight game. He finished with 22 points and six assists, and earned the respect of James near the end of the third quarter, after he threw down a monster of a dunk on Chris Andersen that was followed by a three from James on the other end. LeBron made sure to slap hands with George after the shot, and said to him, “I got you back, young fella.”

James had yet another incredible statistical performance, finishing with 36 points on 14-of-20 from the field, good for a preposterous 70 percent shooting. He added eight rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, but turned the ball over five times. Two of those came very uncharacteristically on some of the game’s most critical final possessions.

The first came with the Heat trailing by two with under 45 seconds remaining, and as LeBron tried to get the pass to Ray Allen on the perimeter, David West had his hand in the passing lane to deflect the ball and come away with the steal. Fortunately for the Heat, the result was nothing more than time off the clock, as the Pacers couldn’t convert on the offensive end.

The next time down, James drove the ball to the right side of the paint with under 13 seconds remaining. Unlike Game 1, George played excellent defense and was able to stay in front of James, and with Hibbert in the game this time and Chris Bosh on the strong side of the floor, Hibbert was able to come and help, forcing LeBron to make a tough pass. He tried to kick it back outside, but West once again got his hand in there to cause the deflection, and George Hill came away with the steal.

As the series shifts to Indiana, the Heat are going to have to get their role players contributing closer to the level we saw from them during the regular season against a Pacers team that brings a balanced attack and a supreme challenge defensively.

Miami can’t afford to get essentially nothing out of Shane Battier and Ray Allen, and may have to find additional minutes for Andersen considering how well he’s been playing on both ends of the floor. Dwyane Wade and Bosh contributed in spurts in Game 2, but one of them is going to need to have a big game on the road in support of LeBron to help the Heat regain the home court advantage in this series.

  1. jhuck92 - May 25, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    As I was watching this game, I realized the Heat were focused on making highlight reel plays and pretty 3-pointers. Nobody was making wide open 3’s and foul shots were falling like bricks. Shane Battier looked like he had too much of his year’s supply of Bud Light before the game. He wasn’t making shots, he stood still during plays. The Pacers, in my opinion, we more focused on the fundamentals and less on pretty plays because of their lack of superstars. If the Heat bench can’t provide their trademark depth (Ray Allen missed almost everything, including a few technical free throws), the Big 3 will need big games to carry the team the rest of this series.

  2. miamatt - May 25, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    Congrats Pacers, great game, shaping up to be a great series.

    Tremendous matchup between George and James.

    • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      George gets better each time I see him play. I wish the Bulls had him!

  3. ravensfan19 - May 25, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    Where are these Cocky Heat fans ? They always quiet after Losses, typical Bandwagon fans. I picked The Pacers to Win the Series and I stand by it. The Pacers should be 2-0 up but Vogel stupid decision to leave Hibbert out Cost them. Lebron had 36 points and Miami still couldn’t Win at home. The Heat have no Answer for Hibbert and West, Hibbert has really been dominating Offensively, been a Great Defensive anchor and has dominated the Offensive Glass. The Pacers are exploiting the Heats biggest Weaknesss which is Inside. George has been fantastic, he has really taking it too Lebron, hes been destroying Lebron One on One, Stephenson has been Great on the Boards and Hill shot well today. Miami are in Big Trouble, this Pacers team is better than Last year, They are Better Defensively, More Confident and more Experience, they have nothing to lose, their is No Pressure on them to Win. I know its still 1-1 but the Heat are big trouble and remember a depleted Bulls Team Gave Miami problems in the Last round, Pacers are a Much better than that Bulls team.

    • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Can you blame the Heat fans? The only chance they have is LeBron taking over, and when he turns the ball over twice in 30 seconds there isn’t much they can say about that. Apparently he needs to learn the hard way that a couple of photo op dunks won’t get it done.

    • nobandwagonridersallowed - May 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Here’s 1 REAL Heat Fan right here, buddy… Been that way since 1988, so I’m clearly not a bandwagon rider! Great win for the Pacers. They executed better than we did on those last 2 possessions; it happens. George, is the truth, however, Hill will not have another 18 point game this series.. That was the X-factor for the Pacers in game 2.

      Realistically, 2 close great games and the Heat haven’t put it all together yet… It better happen soon! Battier, Allen and Cole need to play to their normal levels (hasn’t come close to it yet)

    • heliumiami - May 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Um, Hibbert has had only one dominating offensive game. Let’s not crown him just yet. The series has many games left to be played. Why come on after a loss and be jerks like some Bulls fans?

    • borderline1988 - May 25, 2013 at 10:59 PM

      “Miami are in Big Trouble”

      The Heat were down 2-1 last year, and you probably said the same thing. Have you not learned anything? You cannot decide a series after one or two games.
      Or the Bulls/Heat series you just mentioned…the Heat lost the first game, and you were probably snickering. Except the Heat went on to dominate the rest of the series.

      I like this Pacers team – they play hard and don’t let up defensively.

      But eventually the Heat will start making some of those 3s, and the game will open up very quickly once that finally happens. Heat were 5/18 on 3pt shots in Game 1, and 7/22 in Game 2. A lot of those misses were open shots.

      I hope Ray Allen is reading…at least Battier defends well and is good at swinging the ball. But if Allen keeps shooting poorly, there isn’t much reason to have him on the floor.

      • gostlcards5 - May 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        “But eventually the Heat will start making some of those 3s…”

        Maybe true, maybe not. The Pacers were the best defensive team in the league in a lot of categories. 3-pt defense was one of those. The reason that they are is that they don’t play a bunch of help defense, generally speaking, other than Roy staying down to protect the rim. Bosh is the guy that made a few open 3’s, and he needs to make more, because he is the guy that I see being open outside.

  4. mungman69 - May 25, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    Yes, two real good games with at least 3 more to come. If the Pacers win the series will anyone watch the finals? The finals will be anti-climatic.

  5. packhawk04 - May 25, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Great defense by the pacers on those two late posessions. James got stuck on the second one, pacers knew he was going to kick it out for a three. The guy above was onto something, the heat looked like they wanted to win a certain way, not just win, and it cost them a game.

  6. reasonablemindsays - May 25, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    The Heat simply have no answer for Hibbert. He just stands in the paint and makes his jump hooks all day long. They don’t have anyone who is both tall enough and physical enough to slow him down.

  7. badintent - May 25, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Some great chip shots on both teams. Loved West throwing an elbow at Chambers’ shoulder, then the nice payback by Wade jumping on top of Lance like he was a trampoline. It gonna get like the 90’s with Pacers and Knicks . Anthony Mason in the house ! Look for the refs to tighten up in first half in game 3.Is Hibbet building a house in the paint ? Why no 3 second calls ? and how stupid is that the A-list hoes are wearing $100 T-shirts ? What a waste of $$$.Send those rags to OKC, they need them more for the Red Cross there. Let’s see . Durant sent a millon, the Thunder matched it, Carrie Underwood sent a million. How much did the NBA send ? Zero. same name as Herrr Stern.

  8. reasonablemindsays - May 25, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Also, does Paul George’s nickname become King George if he can overcome King James and the Heat?

  9. magicbucs - May 25, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Right now stern is making phone calls to the next games refs to make sure the heat get more calls their way.

    Glad to see the final 4 teams are medium and small market teams! 3 are built via the draft with no super stars just a few Allstars

    • jollyjoker2 - May 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Yep, lebron next game is going to put the shoulder down and get the calls. Shaq diesel would be proud

  10. pistol7pete - May 25, 2013 at 1:21 AM

    I can’t tell who’s hurting more when Mike Miller’s playing: me or him

    • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      I can’t believe the guy hurt himself getting up off the bench.

  11. cantonbound13 - May 25, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    9! Hey, where’s ’72?

  12. erckle31 - May 25, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Man, I’m loving this series. Lance Stephenson is also coming up huge. I love his aggressiveness, but I pray that he doesn’t turn into another JR, because he made some dumb head-scratching plays today.

  13. pistolpete0903 - May 25, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    If I were a Heat fan, I would be nervous…really nervous.
    It’s not that Indiana won by fluke; they are very good and match up well with the Heat.
    They are also playing team ball with all players chippin in.
    This series reminds me very much of the Pistons Lakers finals in 2004. Team ball, fundamental sound b’ball winning over superstar play.

    Nothing to take off LBJ who has been absolutely spectacular; but must say he looks nervous (or should I say hesitant) come crunch time.

    On a lighter note, Hibbert shouldn’t do the post-game (admitted he was the star of the game). He looked like a deer with a 100W flash light on him.

    It is a 50-50 series now. Can’t wait for Sunday!!!!

  14. halfbaht - May 25, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    @badintent actually, the nba have already donated $1,000,000. Shame on you sir

    • badintent - May 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      There is no shame for calling out Herr Sten. He must have had a weak moment. NBA Cares is a careful controlled media spin.Anyone on this blog knows it too.But I knew the players would step up, Durant is a leader on and off the court.Would love to know how much the SOB that stole the Sonics to OKC( With a big assist from Douche Stern) threw at the Red Cross

  15. mungman69 - May 25, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Yea, and the players association donated too.

    • badintent - May 27, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      yeah, I knew the players would step up . Shocked the NBA wrote a check. Must call Stu Jackson and wake him up.

  16. thekingdave - May 25, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    Eh. Let’s be rational here in NBA terms. We can praise Pat Riley for being a “personnel genius” for persuading three of the NBA’s 3 premier players to suit up together in Miami’s sunny beaches back in the 08 Summer Olympics. The Heat are unequivocally winning this series, but it may take 6 games for rating purposes. Then you will see people such as 72 remind us “how tough this was”, in the process taking a sh*t on his own player, D-Wade, to placate LBJ, who has no allegiance to the most lackadaisical fan base in America. Good times. Anything short of a Heat three-peat would be a failure of epic proportions.

  17. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 25, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    Another great game. Hurts to lose it. And there were a bunch of reasons why it happened. The first and foremost reason was that the Pacers simply played great. They’re a very difficult team for us to play.

    Buuuuttt. The way it’s been is that the Heat have always played best when their lip gets bloodied a bit.

  18. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 25, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    And by the way, can we end all the “where are all the Heat fans now” stupidity? I promise you all, you will never havevto worry about finding Heat fans on this site when there’s a story about the Heat.

    • cantonbound13 - May 25, 2013 at 7:10 AM

      I’m not so sure about that. I don’t see your fellow bandwagoners on here. You stepped up as usual, even though your not the first comment on here as you usually are after a win. I guess losses make you constipated.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 25, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        People do sleep, you know.

      • gmsingh - May 25, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        Is that your excuse for the quality of your posts?

    • cubb1 - May 25, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      As long as Lebron is on the Heat, there will be Heat fans. Once he joins the Pacers in 2015, there will be about 10 Heat fans left.

  19. jbeagles23 - May 25, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    Dumbest post ever goes to ravensfan. How do you consider what James is doin that George is killing him one on one? It’s the other way around. George is havin his moments but give me a break. Last yer this same Indiana team was up 2 1 so the heat aren’t nervous and Allen and battier are not going to continue to miss open shots.

  20. newellyoung - May 25, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Good morning! Just got up. Heat fan here. I have complete respect for the Pacers. The Heat will have their hands full. We’ve been here before. I have complete faith in LeBron. No predictions, just a tip of the hat to the Pacers and a promise to check in again around Game 6. I agree, the Heat are standing around on offense. That has to change, and it will.

  21. thekingdave - May 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Ugh. Always disappointed to wake up and find my awesome drunken post free of spelling and grammatical errors somehow did not make it. Step it up PBT.

  22. Miami305 - May 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Every time the Heat lose a game people conclude that they are on the decline. All that matters is who advances to the Finals. It is not impossible, but will be very difficult for the Pacers to win 3 more games against the Heat. This series will probably go 6 games and prepare the Heat very well for their third Finals appearance in a row against the Spurs.

    Spo/Riley will find a way to beat the Pacers. Watch. Also look to Wade/Bosh/Allen to have some great games in Indiana to squash Pacer enthusiasm.

    • jollyjoker2 - May 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      I would kind of agree. I don’t think Spo is a top end coach. Miami has a lot of talent but the coach doesnt mange well. Pacers get hot and this could easily go the other way. Having said that lebron will get the shoulder going next game and easily get the calls no matter what is in the way or how its called. Its always been that way in the nba.

  23. jimeejohnson - May 25, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Pacers showing they are the real deal, and capable of competing with the Heat. This is going to be a great series. It’s going to come down to execution, turnovers, and clutch. Pacers have what it takes to beat the Heat, and unlike the Bulls, it’s no fluke!

  24. majortlabrador - May 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Sam Young is a great defensive player that won’t back down. But what’s up with his shot? He shoots two-handed, Anyway…this is a great series to enjoy….may the best team win.

  25. trimaster1 - May 26, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    This is a great series, but let’s keep everything in perspective:

    It’s tied 1-1. There’s a lot of basketball left.

    People were predicting the Heat to win in 5 or 6. In other words, the Pacers were expected to win a couple games.

    Very few teams have won a championship going undefeated in the playoffs. Even Jordan’s Bulls won in 5 or 6 against the Lakers, Suns, Blazers & Jazz.

    The Pacers are a tough team, but the Heat have been beating themselves. The bench hasn’t been scoring like they normally do, and their free throws haven’t been great. If they can hit their 3’s or long jumpers that’ll open more space on the floor, but if they don’t the Pacers will win.

    Basketball is a team sport, but if other guys don’t step up, Lebron can’t do it by himself.

    On a side note, less than a week ago, people were saying the Grizzlies were going to be a toughmatchup for the Heat in the FINALS. Sometimes it’s best to wait before you start crowing the winner…

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