Miami wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 13th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 15th|
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|Game 3: Thursday, May 17th|
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|Game 4: Sunday, May 20th|
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|Game 5: Tuesday, May 22nd|
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|Game 6: Thursday, May 24th|
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7:00 PM ET, May 15, 2012
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- This does not sound like a winning formula. Miss 24 of 29 shots in one stretch, on the road. Watch an 11-point second-half lead turn into a deficit. Have your entire team get outscored by two players in the fourth quarter.
Somehow, it worked for the Indiana Pacers.
And with one part of the Big Three gone, the Miami Heat might have a very big problem.
David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night -- after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both came up short on key opportunities in the final minute.
"Defense and rebounding," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We built this team, we started talking about smash-mouth basketball about winning the war in the trenches, and that's with defense and rebounding. That's what I grew up watching Eastern Conference basketball being like. We understand offense is going to come and go, especially like a great defensive team like these guys ... but we're pretty good too."
The series is tied at 1-1, with Game 3 in Indianapolis on Thursday night.
James scored 28 points for Miami and Wade finished with 24, though both failed to convert big chances late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining. Moments later, a few of the Pacers were leaping in celebration at midcourt of Miami's floor, something that Wade said was noticed afterward.
"The game is not lost or won with two free throws," James said. "But I definitely want to come through for my teammates. So I'll get an opportunity again. I know I'll be at the line again in that situation. Just go up and make 'em."
Miami was without Chris Bosh, who's sidelined indefinitely -- almost certainly the rest of the series, possibly longer if the Heat advance -- after he strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1.
His absence was noted in many ways. Miami shot 35 percent, got outrebounded 50-40 and besides James and Wade, no other Heat player scored more than five points. According to STATS LLC, it was the first time in Heat franchise history that only two players scored more than five points in a game, regular-season or playoffs.
"Chris was missed, no doubt about it," Wade said. "But that's not the reason we lost this ballgame."
The Heat were outscored 28-14 in the third quarter, shooting 3 for 17 in that period. They didn't score in the final 2:41, and when Mario Chalmers missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it on the last play, Miami dropped to 1 for 16 from 3-point range on the night, 1 for 22 in the series.
"Welcome to the playoffs, for us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's how we're viewing it. This series has started. They won on our home court. Now we have to collect ourselves, gather ourselves and get ready for Game 3. That's all that matters right now."
George Hill had 15 points, Danny Granger scored 11 and Paul George added 10 for Indiana, which made only 38 percent of its shots. The Pacers had been 2-9 this season when shooting that poorly, yet got a split in Miami anyway.
"I feel like we should be 2-0," George said.
James had a chance to give Miami the lead with 1:22 left, but his shot was blocked from behind by George, who was fouled two seconds later. He missed both free throws, keeping the Indiana lead at 76-75. And after Wade missed a jumper, James was fouled by Granger -- his sixth -- battling for the rebound with 54.3 seconds remaining.
James missed both shots, and Indiana held on from there.
"Their third leading scorer had five points and that's what you want to do," Granger said. "If LeBron James gets 11 assists they are probably going to win. They scored a lot, but we stopped everyone else."
Emotions picked up considerably in the fourth.
Wade was steaming when he missed a shot after trying to create contact with Indiana's Dahntay Jones with 9:53 left. As Wade argued, Jones went the other way and set Leandro Barbosa up for a score that put the Pacers up 63-56.
Chalmers turned the ball over on the next possession, and as the Pacers took off for what set up as a 2-on-none break, Wade caught Darren Collison from behind and knocked him over. A flagrant-1 was called, Collison hit both free throws, the Indiana lead was nine and tensions were suddenly high.
It all seemed to spark Miami.
The Heat scored the next six points. James -- who got hit in the head by Granger with 7:25 left, sparking a bit of shoving that led to double-technicals given to both players -- added a putback off an offensive rebound and Wade did the same about a minute later, getting Miami within 69-66 with 5:57 left.
The whole game was a grind. Indiana scored 16 points in the first seven minutes of the first half, then scored 17 in the next 17 minutes. And even after a drought like that, Miami's lead was only 38-33 at the break. Miami was 0-for-7 on shots that would have pushed its margin to double digits in the first half.
"Playoffs," George said, "are about grinding it out."
James missed a free throw that would have tied it with 4:30 remaining, but after George got the rebound, James dove in to create a jump ball situation. The MVP easily won the tap, sending it to Wade, whose bank shot over West put Miami back on top 72-71.
Barbosa scored on the next Indiana possession. The Pacers weren't rattled, and never trailed again.
"We never felt like we were the underdogs," Granger said.
Game notesJames' six steals were a Heat playoff record. ... Trying to exploit the size advantage with Bosh out, the Pacers gave 7-foot-2 C Roy Hibbert three shots in the first 1:11 of the game. He got three the rest of the game. ... Wade is now 39-11 in home playoff games. ... James will play his 100th playoff game Thursday.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||28-74 (.378)||27-78 (.346)|
|3PM-3PA||3-15 (.200)||1-16 (.063)|
|FTM-FTA||19-27 (.704)||20-29 (.690)|
|Fast Break Points||13||6|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||25 (1/0)||22 (1/1)|
From Elias: The 75 points scored by the Heat are tied for second fewest by a team in which the MVP played on. All five teams that scored 75 or fewer points lost the game.[+]
The Pacers outscored the Heat 28-14 in the 3rd quarter. Indiana went 10-18 from the field (55.6 pct). Miami went 3-17 (17.6 pct).
LeBron went 4-8 from the free throw in the 4th quarter - included in that were 2 misses with 54 seconds remaining. His last shot attempt came with 3:35 remaining in the 4th quarter (a missed 3-pointer). But with those 4th quarter struggles, it's also worth noting he totaled 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 steals, and 5 assists - a stat line that only 3 others players have hit in a playoff game over the last 25 years - Gary Payton in 2000, Michael Jordan in 1989 and 1990, and Patrick Ewing back in 1990.
From Elias: LeBron James scored 28 points and Dwyane Wade added 24, while no other Heat player hit the 6-point mark. According to Elias, its just the 4th time in the shot clock era that two or fewer players on a team scored 6+ points in a playoff game. All four teams lost the game.[+]
2 or Fewer Players with 6+ Points - Playoff Game In Shot-Clock Era (Since 1954-55)
In playoff game-tying or go-ahead situations in the final 24 seconds of the 4th quarter/OT, James took 11 of Cleveland's 24 shots during his time there. James has only attempted 1 of those shots thus far in Miami, accounting for just 14.3 percent of the Heat's field goal attempts in those situations.[+]
LeBron James Playoff Career - Game-Tying or Go-Ahead FG
LeBron James used to take pressure shots with the Cavaliers. In game-tying or go-ahead situations in the final 24 seconds of the 4th quarter/OT, he took 79 of Cleveland's 161 field goal attempts, but he connected on just 31.6 percent of those shots. James has only attempted 12 of those shots thus far in Miami, accounting for only 27.9 percent of the Heat's field goal attempts in those situations.[+]
LeBron James Career Including Postseason - Game-tying or Go-ahead FG
The Pacers outscored the Heat 16-10 in transition during Game 2. The Heat have lost both times this postseason when they were outscored in transition. Miami shot a postseason-low 22.2 percent (2-9) in transition, including 0-3 by Dwyane Wade.[+]
Heat Transition Offense
The Heat shot 42.3 percent (11-26) inside 5 feet during Game 2, tied for their second lowest in a game this season. Miami shot 5-15 from this range in the second half, including 0-3 in the final five minutes. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were both 4-7 from inside 5 feet, the rest of the team was a combined 3-12.[+]
Heat Inside 5 Feet
Since LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami the Heat offense has never been this bad. In 28 playoff games Miami's 75 points in Game 2 were their fewest in the postseason over that span and the Heat's only worse performance from long range was in Game 1 of this series.[+]
Heat Check - Last 2 Postseasons
LeBron James missed two free throws in a one-possession game in the final minute. He is now shooting just 59 percent from the free throw line this season in the final minute of one-possession games. The rest of his team is a combined 13-15...[+]
Pacers win despite putting up just 78 points. In the last 25 seasons, Indiana has won TWO playoff games on the road while scoring 78 or fewer points. BOTH of them have come in Miami.[+]
Fewest Points in Road Playoff Win - Pacers Last 25 Seasons
ESPN Stats & Information