Miami wins series 4-2 (Game 6 of 6)

Miami wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, May 18th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th
Game 3: Saturday, May 24th
Game 4: Monday, May 26th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th
Game 6: Friday, May 30th

Pacers 92

(56-26, 21-20 away)

Heat 117

(54-28, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:30 PM ET, May 30, 2014

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 13 21 24 3492
    MIA 24 36 31 26117

    Top Performers

    Ind: P. George 29 Pts, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mia: L. James 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pacers-Heat Preview

    MIAMI (AP) -- By now, Lance Stephenson's list of egregious acts from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals are well-known: He blew air into LeBron James' ear, interrupted a Miami Heat huddle and got caught flopping for the second time.

    And on Thursday, the Heat tried to get their focus back on themselves.

    Heat coach Erik Spoelstra almost never holds a practice the day after a road game, especially when the team plane lands around 3:30 a.m. as was the case in the wee hours of Thursday. But Spoelstra deviated from the norm on the day before Game 6 of this East title series, not for any one on-court issue but rather so the two-time defending NBA champions could relieve some frustration.

    "Clear heads ... and to connect," Spoelstra said. "We didn't want to leave it all to tomorrow. There were some things we wanted to go over, and for time's sake, splitting it up was a little bit more efficient."

    The Heat still lead the series 3-2, and get the chance to close the Pacers out for the third straight year on Friday night. The game is in Miami, where the Heat have won their last 10 playoff contests.

    Predictably, the talk on the off day wasn't so much about Paul George scoring 37 points to lead his team to a season-saving win, or even how James was held to seven points on a night that he was rendered silent for long stretches because of foul trouble.

    Instead, the buzz was almost entirely about Stephenson, who has simultaneously become a Heat frustration and Internet sensation. Images of his already-infamous ear-blowing stunt were widely distributed on social media moments after it occurred in Game 5, and he didn't back down Thursday when asked about his desire to pester the Heat.

    "Just playing ball, man, having fun and enjoying the moment," Stephenson said.

    Spoelstra didn't react when Stephenson -- who said James was showing signs of "weakness" earlier in the series -- crashed the Heat huddle. Much like his players, Spoelstra didn't bite when asked about the excitable Pacer guard's attempts to throw Miami off its game.

    "Very bizarre game," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "Weird game. But it's over."

    Indiana coach Frank Vogel didn't seem to mind the huddle move, though suggested the ear-blowing decision was a bit much.

    "People are in my huddle all the time. Every player in the NBA does that. That's nothing," Vogel said. "Blowing in his face probably crosses the line. That's not really who we are. We want to be a competitive team, but we don't want to cross the line."

    Stephenson and Pacers center Roy Hibbert flew to Miami with slightly lighter wallets; Stephenson was fined $10,000 by the NBA on Thursday for his second flop of the series, Hibbert $5,000 for another flopping violation. It marked the second time in as many games that a Pacer has drawn a fine, with George having gotten dinged for $25,000 after blasting the officiating following Indiana's loss in Game 4.

    In George's case, the money might have seemed well-spent. Indiana took 22 free throws in Game 5 to Miami's eight, a total that matched the fewest any team has shot in a playoff game since 2006.

    "We just didn't get to the free-throw line," James said. "We were aggressive ... we shot the ball extremely well. We just didn't get to the line."

    Almost everything went wrong for Miami in Game 5, and the Heat still nearly won.

    James shot just 2 for 10 in 24 minutes, and got his fifth foul with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, with the Heat leading by eight. Miami went scoreless on nine of its first 12 possessions after James checked out and the Pacers used that stretch to build a five-point lead, the margin eventually reaching seven when George connected on a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer.

    Down by as many as 11 in the fourth, Miami had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but Chris Bosh's 3-pointer bounced away. And with that, the Heat started the process of turning the page to Friday night, when they could punch their fourth straight ticket to the NBA Finals.

    "It's Game 6," Bosh said. "It's our Game 7."


    Research Notes

    How will LeBron bounce back from a playoff-career low 7 points in Game 5? LeBron's teams are 0-4 in playoff games after James scored fewer than 15 points in the previous game. His team's have been outscored in each game with him on the court, and he's averaging just over 20 points per game in those contests.
    From Elias: The Heat have won 11 consecutive playoff games following a loss. Miami hasn't dropped 2 straight playoff games since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics (lost 3 straight).
    The Pacers are 3-0 in elimination games this postseason, winning Games 6 and 7 against the Hawks in the First Round before Wednesday's victory over the Heat.
    The Conference Finals has featured 7 games in which a team has won by double digits. That's the most since the 1984-85 season (also 7). The record for double digit wins in the Conference Finals is 9, set in 1970-71.
    The Heat are 9-0 at home in potential series-clinching games in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2010-11 season). LeBron James is averaging 28.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in those games.
    The Heat have won 10 straight HOME playoff games dating back to Game 2 of the 2013 NBA Finals (tied for the franchise record, set from 2010 to 2011). Miami is 7-0 at home this postseason with an average margin of victory of 10.6 points per game.
    The Heat scored 132.6 points per 100 possessions in Game 6, their most efficient offensive performance in ANY playoff game in the Big 3 era. It was the highest offensive efficiency against the Pacers SINCE 1999 (April 24 vs Nets), over 15 seasons. The Heat have the most efficient offense this postseason of any team, something that has gotten better for them each postseason in the Big 3 era.
    LeBron James and the Heat split two meetings with both the Thunder and Spurs this season, but James averaged 33.5 points per game against Oklahoma City, compared to only 18.5 points per game against San Antonio.
    LeBron James didn't let Lance Stephenson get to him in Game 6 as Stephenson took on a bigger role guarding James. James scored 9 of his 15 points against Stephenson on drives in Game 6 (3-3 FG, 3-3 FT) after recording no points off drives against him the first five games (0-2 FG, 1 TO).
    The Heat's 26-point halftime lead in Game 6 is their largest halftime lead in postseason history (ELIAS) and the second-largest halftime lead in a conference finals game in the last 15 seasons.
    The Pacers outscored the Heat by 8 points in the paint in the first five games of the series. In Game 6, the Heat outscored the Pacers by 18 in the paint, shooting 75.8 percent on those shots (25-of-33). What led to the turnaround? The Heat outscored the Pacers 41 to 17 on drives in Game 6. The Heat drove a series-high 39 times in the game after averaging 25 drives in the first five games. By comparison, the Pacers drove only 13 times in Game 6. LeBron James was the catalyst for the Heat's increase in drives, creating 18 points on those plays.
    Through the 1st Quarter... Paul George, Lance Stephenson and David West have scored the last 56 points for the Pacers (goes back to 4:03 of the 3rd quarter in Game 5) In the last 3 quarters of play, those three have scored 65 of the Pacers 73 points

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