Miami wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 18th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 24th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 26th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 6: Friday, May 30th|
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8:30 PM ET, May 28, 2014
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George went into desperation mode to salvage the Pacers' season.
It was barely good enough.
The 24-year-old All-Star scored 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and inspired Indiana to fend off Miami's late challenges as the Pacers staved off playoff elimination with a 93-90 Game 5 victory Wednesday night.
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LeBron James had never been in foul trouble this way, leading to a perplexing night that ended in defeat, Brian Windhorst writes. Story
Tom Haberstroh grades the Heat-Pacers Game 5 that saw LeBron James in foul trouble and Paul George on a fourth-quarter rampage. Story
"My message to the whole team was the light needs to be on green for all of us," coach Frank Vogel said. "You need to go, you need to attack, you need to be aggressive. Paul took it and ran with it and took it to a crazy level."
The most crucial shooting performance of George's career allowed the Pacers to climb within 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and at least postponed Miami's fourth straight coronation as conference champ. Game 6 is Friday in Miami.
It took everything in George's repertoire to get it done. He was 12-of-19 from the field in the second half, and finished with six rebounds, six steals, five 3-pointers and only three turnovers in 45 minutes.
The Pacers also needed everything else to go right.
Four-time MVP LeBron James was limited to 24 1/2 minutes because of major foul trouble. He finished with a career playoff-low seven points, two rebounds and four assists. The Heat committed 17 turnovers, compared to just 13 for the usually turnover-prone Pacers, and Indiana had a 45-38 rebounding edge, too.
The biggest difference was George, whose 21 fourth-quarter points were the most scored against Miami in any playoff quarter. The previous record, 20, was set by Michael Jordan in May 1997.
"I just felt it. I felt in rhythm. I had to be aggressive," George said. "I tried to come out and be aggressive to start this game off, and I was getting looks. I got hot."
George fell just short of his playoff career high, the 39 he had in Game 4 against Washington in the previous series, and was just four points short of Reggie Miller's franchise record in an NBA playoff game.
For Miami, it was a rare stumble in an elimination game in the Big Three era. Three other times, the Heat had lost Game 1 on the road, and all three times, they won the next four games to close out the series. The Heat were in position to do it again Wednesday even with James' limitations.
After holding the Pacers to 11 points in the second quarter and only 33 in the first half, and surviving two long first-half stretches without James, the Heat couldn't hold off the Pacers when James went to the bench again with his fifth foul early in the third quarter. The Heat still had a chance to take the lead with 4.9 seconds left. But Bosh's 3-pointer was off the mark, and the Pacers grabbed the rebound.
"We still had enough opportunities to come away with a win," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We just couldn't get over the hump."
Hard falls and tough plays were a theme all night for a Pacers team that had been roundly criticized for its lack of effort in Monday night's loss. Lance Stephenson took it a step further. At one point, he attempted to listen in on one of Miami's huddles. At another, he blew in James' ear.
SportsNation: Will Pacers come back?
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"I'm just here to play basketball, man. All the extracurricular activities, I don't really get into," James said. "I'm just trying to win. We need one more win to get to the Finals. That's my only concern. All the extra stuff, whatever Lance wants to do, I don't really care about that."
It looked like the Heat might clinch their fourth straight conference title Wednesday, something last done by the Celtics from 1984 to 1987, when the Pacers trailed 50-41 with 6:56 left in the third quarter.
Then George took over.
He started an 11-0 run with a layup and ended it with a steal that he turned into a dunk to give the Pacers a 52-50 lead. Miami quickly tied it on Udonis Haslem's layup, but George answered with a 3-pointer that sent the Pacers on a 12-5 run to make it 64-57 after three.
Indiana extended the lead to as much as 77-66 early in the fourth on another George dunk, but when James re-entered, things changed.
The Heat scored nine straight to make it 77-75, tied it at 81 on James' only 3 of the night with 3:51 to play and twice managed to get within one in the final 76 seconds. George then hit a 3 and West made one of two free throws in the closing seconds to seal it.
James scored in single digits for the first time since finishing with eight against Dallas on June 7, 2011. He has scored in single digits only 10 times in his career. ... Roy Hibbert, who had only five rebounds in Game 4, had five in the first seven minutes Wednesday and finished with 13. ... Miami shot 45.3 percent from the field, the first time it has been under 50 percent in the series. ... The Pacers were 13-of-22 from the free throw line while Miami was 7-of-8.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 28: David West #21 of the Indiana Pacers warms up before the game against the Miami Heat in...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Paul George was at his very best offensively in Game 5, and the Pacers needed every last point. While his 37 points will get the most attention, George also proved why he's one of the best two-way players in the game, adding six steals and lockdown defense on whomever the Heat sent his direction.
Turning point: Though his return in the fourth quarter made for a close game, LeBron James picking up his fifth foul in the third quarter doomed the Heat. They survived without him in the first half, but his absence in the third put the Pacers squarely in the driver's seat.
That was ... close: During LeBron's aforementioned third-quarter absence, it seemed as though Indiana would easily put away Miami. The Heat came roaring back in the fourth, but the Pacers were not to be denied. A win's a win; now, it's time to prepare for Game 6.
Paul George scored 21 points in the 4th quarter of Game 5, the most by any player in the 4th quarter when facing elimination in the last 15 postseasons.[+]
Paul George's 37 points were his most in a postseason game against the Heat (previous high: 28). Meanwhile, James scored a playoff career-low 7 points after thoroughly outplaying George in the first 4 games of the series.[+]
Eastern Conference Finals
LeBron James scored a playoff-career low 7 points in Game 5 against the Pacers. His previous low was a Game 4 loss in the 2011 NBA Finals when he scored 8 against the Mavericks, including 0 in the 4th quarter. LeBron's teams are 0-9 in the playoffs when he scores 15 or fewer points.[+]
LeBron James Fewest Points in a Playoff Game
The Heat scored a season-low 22 points in the paint Wednesday, in large part due to LeBron James' foul trouble. James was second in the NBA in paint scoring this season (Blake Griffin), but was just 1-of-5 in the paint Wednesday. James was particularly ineffective on drives in Game 5. James went 0-of-3 on such plays before dishing to Chris Bosh for a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, a shot Bosh missed. Entering the game, James was 8-of-13 on his drives in the series, with his teammates shooting 6-of-7 when he passed. The game turned in the third quarter for the Pacers when James picked up his fifth foul. The Heat drove only two times in the third, getting outscored 16-2 in the paint. As a team, the Heat drove a series-low 17 times in Game 5.[+]
Heat on LeBron James Drives This Series
Dwyane Wade could not contain Paul George in Game 5. George was 10-of-14 against Wade, including 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter. Wade did play tight defense. He contested every jump shot George attempted against him. Yet, George managed to make 8-of-11 jumpers when guarded by Wade. Wade guarded George on only four plays in the first half. In the second half, Wade guarded George on 12-of-17 plays (not including transition).[+]
Paul George by Defender in Game 5
LeBron's 7 points were a career low but he also had just 4 assists... He scored or assisted on 19 of Miami's 90 points... He accounted for 21 percent of his teams points, the fewest he has ever accounted for in a playoff game.[+]
Fewest Pct Of Team Pts Scored Or Assisted On - LeBron James Postseason Career
Chris Bosh's 25 points in Game 4 were his most in a playoff game since the 2011 East Finals, his first postseason with the Heat. That day, he scored 34 vs the Bulls. He followed that performance up with 22 the next game, giving him the best 2-game stretch in his playoff career (56 points). Getting to the free throw line like he did in Game 4 would help him match that effort. His 10 free throw attempts were his most in a playoff game since the first round of the 2012 playoffs (Game 4 vs Knicks).[+]
Chris Bosh - This Postseason
The Heat are 2-7 on the road against the Pacers over the last 2 seasons (including both the regular season and playoffs). Miami snapped a 5-game road losing streak against Indiana in Game 2 of this series.[+]
Miami Heat - vs Pacers By Location Last 2 Seasons
LeBron James picked up his 3rd foul with 6:03 left in the 2nd quarter. This is just the 2nd time this season James has recorded 3 fouls in the 1st half. The other time was also against the Pacers (12/18/2013).
The Heat are 7-0 in Game 5 when holding a 3-1 lead in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2011 playoffs).[+]
Heat in Game 5 With 3-1 Lead - James-Wade-Bosh Era (Since 2011 Playoffs)
From Elias: LeBron James is averaging 28.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists in 29 career potential-series clinching games. From Elias: He's 1 of 4 players in NBA history that has career averages of at least 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while playing in at least 5 such games (Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Larry Bird).
If the Pacers lose tonight, it will mark the 3rd time in the last quarter-century that they have lost in the conference finals in consecutive seasons...that matches the total that the rest of the NBA has posted in that span, although the Pistons lost 3 straight from 2006-08...[+]
Lost Consecutive Conference Finals Appearances
The Heat are just 1 win shy of making the NBA Finals for a 4th consecutive season. Miami would be the first team to accomplish that feat since the Celtics spanning 1984-87.[+]
Teams to Reach NBA Finals At Least 4 Consecutive Times
The Heat are trying to become the first team to 3-peat since the Lakers accomplished that feat spanning 2000-02.[+]
Teams To Win At Least 3 Consecutive Titles - NBA History
The Pacers are just 4-5 at home this postseason after going an NBA-best 35-6 in the regular season.[+]
Pacers at Home This Season
The Pacers are 0-3 all-time in best-of-7 NBA playoff series when trailing 3-1.[+]
Pacers When Trailing 3-1 - Best-of-7 NBA Playoff Series All-Time
Here's a cross-sport look at the last time a team made 4 straight title appearances. Among the 4 major North American sports, the Yankees were the last to do it, spanning 1998-2001.[+]
Last Time Team Made 4 Straight Title Appearances - 4 Major North American Sports
The Heat and Kings have had similar series against their current opponents. Both series started May 18th and it's been a mirror image since then:[+]
Heat and Kings - Conference Finals
Teams that lead a best-of-7 series 3-1 go on to win the series 96.4 percent of the time (214-8). The last team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit was Phoenix in the 2006 First Round against the Lakers. The last time a team overcame a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Finals was in 1981 when the Celtics pulled the comeback off against the 76ers en route to winning the title that season.[+]
Teams To Comeback From 3-1 Deficit - NBA History
LeBron James has scored at least 25 points in each of the last 11 games in which his team had a chance to clinch a playoff series on the road, tied for the second-longest streak in NBA history (ELIAS).[+]
The Pacers scored 33 points in the 1st half of Game 5, the fewest allowed by the Heat in any half this postseason. It's tied for the third-fewest points allowed by the Heat in the 1st half of a postseason game in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11).[+]
Fewest 1st-Half Points Allowed by Heat in Postseason Since 2011
Roy Hibbert went scoreless in Game 4 after averaging 15.7 points per game in Games 1-3. Hibbert has 4 scoreless games this postseason, the most in NBA history by a player that was selected to the All-Star game that season. Jim King of the San Francisco Warriors previously topped that list with 3 scoreless games in the 1968 postseason.
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