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Too much LeBron, Wade down stretch carries Heat past Pacers, even series

May 21, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT

LeBron James AP

For three quarters it looked like the Indiana Pacers were Born Ready.

But in crunch time Miami could answer with the best player on the planet — and much improved defense from Game 1.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored Miami’s final 15 points including during a 10-0 Heat run that started with just under five minutes left in the game, a stretch that provided the separation Miami needed to get an 87-83, grind-it-out win on the road.

That evens the series at 1-1 heading back to Game 3 in Miami Saturday night.

LeBron had an up-and down game and finished with 22 points, 12 in the fourth quarter. Wade was the key to the Heat offense in the first half then made a series of big shots, including some impressive floaters, as he had 10 in the fourth quarter and 23 for the game to lead the Heat.

But the offense wasn’t end of the court where Miami needed the biggest change after Game 1.

Miami came out with a much improved defensive effort in Game 2, particularly starting in the second quarter when they held Indiana to 6-of-21 shooting. In Game 1 Miami had little ball pressure and let the Pacers start their sets when and where they wanted, which was the first steps in a series of breakdowns. But in Game 2 Miami was pressuring the ball, forcing turnovers.

That defense was particularly evident in the fourth quarter when Miami pressured and Indiana shot just 7-of-19. As always the Heat’s offense feeds off their defense and Miami shot 58.8 percent in the final frame behind their stars.

“We had some defensive breakdowns that led to threes and we had some turnovers,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said in his post-game press conference broadcast on NBA TV.

Up until that point this game it felt like the kind of grinding, defensive, ugly playoff game that is right in the Pacers wheelhouse. It was close the whole way but it felt like Indy’s kind of game.

Lance Stephenson — nicknamed Born Ready — looked like a guy who is going to get paid as a free agent this summer just dominating for stretches, particularly in the third quarter. He was aggressive but not reckless and did a good job setting up teammates. The result was 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting plus 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

Paul George struggled. He was 1-of-11 to start the game and finished with 14 points on 16 shots. David West had 10 points on 16 shots. Part of that was good Miami defense, but some of it was just missed looks they normally hit.

Roy Hibbert had a strong game again for Indiana — 13 rebounds, 8 of them offensive, plus 12 points on 8 shots. He seems to be back on both ends, and with that the Pacers seem back in this series.

While Wade and LeBron deserve the praise, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made two key moves trusting his bench that paid off big and were key to the win.

One was putting Norris Cole on Stephenson, which hampered Stephenson on the pick-and-roll because Cole was quick enough to take away room. Stephenson was key for three quarters — he owned the third — but after the switch to have Cole on him Stephenson shot just 1-of-3 and was quiet down the stretch.

The other key was Spoelstra leaned heavily on Chris Anderson to play Roy Hibbert in big minutes. Anderson played 28 minutes total and almost the entire fourth quarter — he was the one defender who gave Hibbert trouble. Plus Anderson pulled down 13 rebounds. It was key.

Both teams can take a measure of confidence into Game 3.

Indiana is back and hanging with the champs — they lost by just four on a night where their All-Star wing Paul George was just ice cold (and David West wasn’t much better). Most nights they can force a game at this tempo, in this style, they will win. They have to feel they have a real shot here.

Miami got the split on the road and now is heading home. More importantly their defense was back and if it is back they can keep Indiana from scoring much easier than Indy can stop them. Plus, the Heat still have the best player in the series on their side.

After two games this feels like a series that is going to go on for a while.

129 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. pphins4life12 - May 21, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Mmmmm no kb204 or whatever his name and that other clown canton bound I swear it was like 150 + comments Monday night.. now only 40+ comments wow lol

    • cantonbound13 - May 21, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      Good to see the bandwagon fans are back for now. It was aweful quiet the last 2 days.

      • leahcima1 - May 21, 2014 at 8:41 AM

        Hey, cantonjerk0 has come out of mourning and is replaying his scripts. Jerko get clever, write something new. After four years of the Heat winning and the Knicks losing it’s getting pretty boring the same couple of cantonjerk0 lines. lol

      • jimeejohnson - May 21, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        What do you expect from a pea brain New Yawk a$$hole.

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Maybe you can be the Knicks Head Coach, after all, you have as many career coaching wins as Steve Kerr

    • jkirby317 - May 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      The Heat don’t have fans… they have supporters.

    • cantonbound13 - May 23, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      http://touch.sun-sentinel.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-80272462/

      Heat “fans” are known to be a joke nationally.

  2. johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Why aren`t Miami fans talking about officials today?No mention of Wade pulling George`s arm and then kneeing him in the head?No mention of Lebron hacking across Hill`s arm on a 3 and getting a layup instead?Your not angry about those calls?They were both 5 point turn arounds in a 4 point game.Were is the outrage?
    As soon as i heard Crawford`s crew was doing the game i sold my tickets and bet the $400 on Miami.I`ve made over 4k this season only betting Crawford`s games.I called it Sunday after game 1 that Joey would be in town to even things up.The NBA is more predictable than the WWE but at least you can make money off them.Just study the refs stats instead of the players you`ll be amazed.

    • moppop - May 21, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Wade has his dirty spells, but there was nothing dirty in the fall and tangle with PG. That’s just a scrum that left PG a little woozy.

      • johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        I didn`t think it was dirty by any means.But it`s a foul even if unintentional.You can accidentally elbow someone in the head but it`s still a foul.I`m not saying the officiating was any worse for Indiana last night than for Miami Sunday i`m just saying the officials dictate the outcome of more games than the players do and that`s why the NBA can`t compete with the NFL and you shouldn`t get anymore emotionally involved than you would the WWE.

    • borderline1988 - May 21, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      You’re dreaming.

      There was nothing wrong with that Paul George/Dwayne Wade play. Maybe you call a foul on the initial grab, but no way the knee to the head was intentional. The Pacers got the ball back anyways on that paly.

      And that George Hill strip wasn’t necessarilly a foul. Just because Hill flailed his arms above his head, doesn’t mean it’s a foul (only Durant and Chris Paul get those stupid calls when they’re stripped).
      And the Pacers reach in on Lebron’s and Dwayne’s drives literallly every time they drive to the basket in order to strip them, but it’s NEVER called. Roy Hibbert also gets away with way too much.

      This was an evenly officiated game.

      • johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM

        Watch again,Lebron missed the ball by 4 inches and hit Hill on the inside of his right elbow.That should be a foul every time no matter who the shooter or defender is.Yes the Pacers imploded on offense the last 5 minutes but to say those calls didn`t effect a game that tight is naive.Which way those calls go decide more games than the players.

      • borderline1988 - May 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        If the refs would have called that, it’s a bailout call.

        Hill had the ball under tough coverage in a bad spot with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. He does that wind up into a 3pt shot, just like Durant and Chris Paul do, so that his arms hit Lebron’s, even though Lebron’s hand were already there.
        And then Paul George clearly fouls Lebron on the subsequent layup attempt, which doesn’t get called. Allen was clearly held on that inbounds play with 6 seconds left, which doesn;t get called.

        There were missed calls going both ways. This whole game the refs were letting things go..I think the Heat only had 4 FTs in the entire 2nd half, even though Lebron and Wade were aggressively driving to the rim the entire 4th.

        THe blame of this game goes to the Pacers inability to find consistent scoring down the stretch. This is one game that the refs had very little to do with…

      • jkirby317 - May 21, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        It is never okay to jump on someone. He committed a foul!

  3. newyorkball82 - May 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    The word hater is a funny word. It’s mostly become a word that’s used when people dislike something and they make points as to why, but the opposing side doesn’t want to hear it. Automatically the label “hater” is thrown out. It’s a cop out really. Nobody is allowed to not like a team or a player/players without being one. If anyone thinks the reason why people “hate” the heat is because they’ve won two of the past three finals they’re really missing it.

    • miamatt - May 21, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      There’s a difference between trolling and having a legitimate discussion. The way you hyper-post all over Heat articles with 90% junk, and then blame Heat fans, is what people take exception too. You are simply another piece in the predictable blind hate/blind love troll cycle that goes on in any internet comment section. Yes, that includes some Heat fans, but you are just as big a part of the mess, and that is nobody’s fault but your own.

      • jkirby317 - May 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

        The Heat don’t have fans. At best you are a LeBron supporter.

  4. loungefly74 - May 21, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Miami showing the toughness and why they are the defending 2 time champs. Indy needs 2 of the next 3 or they are toast.

  5. newyorkball82 - May 21, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    @gofinsgoheatfloria

    I guess Indy should listen to Lebrons AMAZING 1st game speech and “be careful what you wish for!” That Shakespearean-esque gave me goosebumps.
    I’m pretty sure that if this series goes to 7 that Miami will not have home court in that final game? Correct me if I’m wrong here. So having home court advantage is still theirs if it were go seven.

    • southbeachtalent - May 21, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      You obviously don’t understand how home court works. You’re probably a Knicks fan, figures..

      The Mecca..

      • jimeejohnson - May 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        The Mecca of Feces and Losers.

      • jkirby317 - May 21, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Get this straight the only talented person in South beach is LBJ and that is not you so change your handle to your real name, Jeffrey.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - May 21, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      So having home court advantage is still theirs [Indiana's] if it were go seven.

      Not “still” theirs; more like “again”. If Miami wins out at home, there is no game 7; that’s what home-court advantage, which Miami now has, means. Indiana had that, and lost it last night. Yes, they could get it back – but that is exactly what their Plan A for the season – home court in the ECF – was meant to avoid.

    • john242322 - May 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      The heat lost when LBJ gave that speech in the first game. Obviously it didn’t do enough to motivate their team in Game 1.

      And yes u rookie, Pacers have Game 7 at home

      Pacers win in 7

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 21, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        Good luck getting it to 7

  6. jbeagles23 - May 21, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    The officiating hasn’t been an issue this series however don’t ever say the knee was a foul. The arm wrestle sure but George dove in the path of wade. Sure how much Indy fans are pulling at straws

    • john242322 - May 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Sure how much Indy fans are pulling at straws…..? huh. learn how to write before you post your ignorance on here.

      Pacers will steal 1 away like they always do and win in 7

  7. johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    You do realize it doesn`t have to be intentional to be a foul right?So do you think Hill fouled Coles on the in bounds play too?That`s 3 huge plays in the last 4 minutes of a tight game and you don`t think it was an issue?Talk about seeing what you want to see.
    Miami will win game 3 and then Joey will be in Miami for game 4 and it will come back 2-2.The NBA wants at least 6 games from this series.That is why Crawford still has a job after the tax fraud and the ticket scandal(where he lost it temporarily).
    Remember Tim Donahue didn`t fix games he bet based on ref relationships with players & coaches.Study ref stats and gambling on NBA is easy money.

    • heat256 - May 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      Time to adjust your tinfoil hat, tool.

      • johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        Believe what ever you want but the cash in my hands.

      • southbeachtalent - May 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        We’re all rich on the internet..

      • johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

        Not rich at all but ever since the Tim Donahue situation and i learned that i was able to access referee stats on the internet i started using those instead of player stats i`ve won money on the NBA every season since and i sure wasn`t before so believe what you want and root for who you want but NBA officials do influence wins & losses more than any sport by far.

  8. nard100 - May 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    Man there are a lot of bitter haters on this morning! Sooooo the idea of the Pacers being in Miami’s head kinda sounds really dumb now huh. All the laughter about officiating ain’t so funny now. The sounds you hear are:

    1. The CREAKING you hear is the wheels coming off the bandwagon of the Indiana Pacers again
    2. The MOANING you hear is the Indiana fans crying to the heavens for answers as their team threw the kitchen sink at the Heat snd STILL LOST
    3. The LAUGHING you hear is Miami fans at the thought that a team who hasn’t even been to the finals since the 80’s could intimidate the 2 time defending champs – LOL

    • emdawt - May 21, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Pacers were in the finals in 2000.

      • gostlcards5 - May 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        He definitely is a nard.

    • nard100 - May 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      My bad, but they still LOST.

      • moppop - May 21, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        You were still WRONG. Two can play your games.

  9. unxpexted1 - May 21, 2014 at 9:12 AM

    I think this series is closer than Heat fans want to realize, at least up until this moment. Game one, the Pacers beat Miami at their game….shooting threes, being efficient offensivley, and scoring points. Game two, Heat won at the Pacers, game. Heat only scored 87 points, was a slow tempo game, and won on defense.

    Nobody has controlled the wins the way they want to, both games have been abberations for both teams. So the series is as even as ever and we’ll see what happens in game 3.

    • southbeachtalent - May 21, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      I just hope Roy doesn’t go catching gold fish on Paul’s boat again!

    • borderline1988 - May 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      The Pacers have trouble scoring the ball in the 4th. When the going gets tough late in games, Miami can rely on Wade and Lebron to make plays, even when the Pacers are at their best defensively.
      Meanwhile, the Pacers need to rely on Lance Stephenson and Paul George. Stephenson had a tremendous 3rd quarter, but he disappeared in the 4th.
      And Paul George…that guy needs to learn how to play from the midrange and finish better around the rim. If he’s not hitting his 3s, his offense simply dries up. Once in awhile, he rises up from like 30 feet late in the shot clock and nails a 3-pointer, and you hear the oohs and aahs (he’s better at making those shots than anyone in the NBA besides Curry). But that’s not a consistent scoring strategy. He’s so tall..he needs to play a bit more like Livingston. Just drive, and then rise up for 10-12 foot jump shots. Or post someone up and hit short-turnarounds. He needs to find more consistent go-to scoring moves

      • unxpexted1 - May 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        I agree, he still hasn’t developed his game to that “next” level yet. This is really his first year as a big time player. He has a lot of room to go, but if he can be more agressive and make better shot selections this series could be different. Unfotunately i dont think he’ll learn that in the next 5 games.

    • john242322 - May 21, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Thank you for actually posting something that makes sense. These Heat trolls REFUSE to give Pacers any credit ever. This will be a long, tough fought series – but the Heat fans just can’t accept that

    • john242322 - May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      Thank you for actually posting something that makes sense. These Heat trolls REFUSE to give Pacers any credit ever. This will be a long, tough fought series – but the Heat fans just can’t accept that

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        It’s because in order to be the champ, you gotta beat the champ. You haven’t done that yet. Pacers fans have zero to talk about until that happens

      • gostlcards5 - May 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

        Well said, Ric.

      • moppop - May 21, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        @jimmymarlinsfan
        Nor has Miami, considering there is no 2013-2014 champ.

        When has Miami beat the Mavs in a playoff game since their 2011 loss?

      • jimmymarlinsfan - May 22, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        @mopop. The Heat are still champs though. Get that through your thick head. The Mavs? What did Dirk today? Fish? Play golf? The Heat have own two titles since then. Two! Let me remind you. Two titles! Get it yet? The Heat are the champs until someone can prove otherwise. Been a while since that happened. Got it yet?

  10. johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Bitter hater?I`m just laughing and counting cash.You can`t get emotional about the NBA.
    If they could officiate a game without dictating the outcome it would be Americas top sport over football.It`s much more fast paced action packed but the way it`s called,especially for superstars keeps more fans casual than hardcore like football.

  11. birdsofprey305 - May 21, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    @moppop
    I think they mean people act like heat fans are the only ones who leave games early and justify it by saying it was finals game.

    • moppop - May 21, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      That’s like the pot calling the kettle black, no?

      Here’s a little clue in to ‘Fans Dealing with Frustration 101′:

      Walk away for a bit
      Pace
      Change the channel
      Throw things
      Leave games early
      Not even show up to games

      If people paid for a ticket, they can do whatever they want in relation to the participation of the game. Fullstop.

  12. southbeachtalent - May 21, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    5 more for a 3-peat.

    Not 1, Not 2,…

  13. emdawt - May 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Heat are the champs so they are not going to roll over. I’ve said it before – it’s tough to make the NBA Finals for four straight years.

    Miami is older and slower and the Pacers will split in Miami.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - May 21, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      The Pacers made their season plan out of fear of having to win an ECF game in Miami, and now they’re under .500 for the playoffs at home. I suspect that they’re seeing a bit rougher road ahead than you’re seeing. Indy can still win it, sure, but they’ve made it harder on themselves

    • john242322 - May 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      I agree. Pacers will steal 1 away like they always do. This will be another game 7 series, except Pacers win it this time

  14. birdsofprey305 - May 21, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    @newyorkball82

    I think you should take your own advice, You were one of the people celebrating after game 1 is if the series is over. A hater is someone like yourself that will always find a reason to dislike something and never get credit. Sadly the heat are already a far more accomplished franchise then the Knicks in shorter period of time in spite of what the media tell us.

    • jimeejohnson - May 21, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      New York SUCKS!

  15. jrob23 - May 21, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Did anyone in the world really think the NBA would let the Heat lose game 2 or this series? Can you imagine the absolute ratings disaster a Pacers/Spurs finals would be? The refs had the Heat’s back all game and ensured the outcome. How people are actually blind to this speaks to the fan’s intelligence. The worst, most fixed sport of them all and it’s not even close.

    • johnc44 - May 21, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      And it`s a shame because i think it would be the best sport if they could get a handle on it.I think the 1st thing they need to do is just keep track of team fouls & not player fouls.Calling a couple bogus fouls early on a important player and it can change the way the entire game plays out.Their are too many anticipated or flat out bad calls to force players out of the game over them.Having your best players sit an extra 20% of a game because a ref thought he saw something that wasn`t there hurts the games and the fans who pay to see the players and not the refs.

  16. 25yearindyfan - May 21, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Jimmy,

    Kudos to you for being a real fan. I’m not sure, other than opening day following the 2 World Series titles that I’ve ever seen more than 25 people at any Marlins game.

    It’s the posers here that have simply jumped on for the ride (courtesy of Shaq and Lebron) that make me want to puke.

  17. newyorkball82 - May 21, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Do the Knicks have to be good for me to root for them. Did I ever brag about them being awesome? I will be loyal to the Knicks because I am a fan. Always have been. I don’t need them to win a championship to root for them. I can guarantee 100% that if Lebron leaves, the already empty AA arena will be a ghost town during the regular season. If they stop winning, the fans will be non existent.

  18. newyorkball82 - May 22, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Also Dirk has a trophy from the finals in which Dallas beat Miami. He can look at that whenever he wants and be reminded of the time when they took out Miami in 6!!! The heat weren’t able to win three straight because of him. I’m sure that combined with the millions of dollars he has will suffice just fine. Don’t be jealous of Dirk…

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