Coming into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals there was a feeling that the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat would give fans an exciting series. Things kicked off exactly as such as the Miami Heat needed a last second layup from LeBron James in order to win the game in overtime, 103-102.
In a game that saw a number of fouls, turnovers and intense physical play; the Pacers and Heat went back and forth from the very start of the game. The Pacers were able to use their stellar inside defense to stifle much of the Heat’s offense in the first half. Early foul trouble and shooting woes held the big three of Miami in check while David West looked like he was the best player on the floor. By the end of the first two quarters of play he led all scorers with 18 points, which was more than James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had combined.
The second half is where this game became interesting as the Heat came out with an increased level of intensity on both sides of the ball. They went on a quick run to close out the deficit and take the lead in the third quarter. Paul George and James, who were both held to respectively low totals during the what first half, would begin to take over the game for their teams in what became a battle of stars towards the end.
George would be the hero first when he would hit a 32 foot shot at the end of regulation with .7 seconds left on the clock to force the overtime. Then, during a crazy sequence that involved a scramble for a loose ball; George would come up with the ball and throw up a three point shot but Wade was called for his sixth foul, sending George to the line. He would hit all three of his free throws to give the Pacers the lead with 2.2 seconds left in overtime and stunning the Miami crowd.
The next inbound play will be talked about time and time again leading up to Game 2. James received the inbound pass right at the top of the key and turned the corner on George just enough to get by him and score the wide open layup, giving the Heat the win.
James would lead all scorers with 30 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks on the night. Wade ended his evening with 19 points and 5 assists before fouling out during the extra period. Chris Bosh had 17 points and only 2 rebounds while Mario Chalmers added 10 points of his own. Chris “Birdman” Anderson came off the bench with 16 points and 5 important rebounds and 3 key blocks.
George had 27 points and 5 assists to be the high man for the Pacers. West had 26 points and 5 rebounds of his own. Roy Hibbert, who was taken out of the game late for key plays, had 19 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks on the evening. Tyler Hansbrough added 10 points for the Pacers off of the bench.
Game 2 in the series is set for Friday from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.