May 13, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left) and small forward LeBron James (right) talk during the second half in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals against he Indiana Pacers of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The Indiana Pacers outplayed Miami early, jumping out to an 11-4 lead and taking a six-point lead into halftime. Shortly before halftime started, the Heat's official Twitter feed announced that Chris Bosh suffered a strained abdominal muscle on a second-quarter dunk on Roy Hibbert and would not return.
Three-time MVP LeBron James and Dwyane Wade made sure the Pacers didn't steal home-court advantage.
Miami's two superstars played superbly in the second half against a team with a pretty big frontcourt. James and Wade actually outscored the entire Indiana team after intermission by themselves; they scored 42 points while the Pacers only managed 38. The Heat managed to go into the fourth quarter knotted with Indiana at 70 before making a quick run to gain a lead the Heat would never relinquish.
NBA Commissioner David Stern handed James the MVP trophy in front of the American Airlines Arena before the game, and the Akron, Ohio native played like the best basketball player in the world. He scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, finding open spaces on the pick-and-roll against Roy Hibbert. James finished with 32 points on 12-of-26 shooting from the field, and 8-of-10 shooting from the foul line. Just as important, the 6-foot-8 forward grabbed 15 rebounds and shut down Danny Granger on the other side of the court. Granger shot an abysmal 1-of-10 from the field. Miami actually won the rebounding battle 45-38 thanks in large part to James. Bosh played well before he injured his abdominal muscle, scoring 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting and grabbing five rebounds before intermission.
Wade struggled shooting from the field - 8-for-23 shooting - but earned 14 trips to the foul line and scored 29 points. He did the bulk of the scoring in the third quarter before James took over in the fourth period. But the 2006 NBA Finals MVP still made his presence felt in the final stages of the games; he made a nice chase-down block on a Paul George layup attempt that would have cut Miami's lead to three with 3:30 left to go.
In Bosh's absence, Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony used their effort and intensity to help inject some life into the Heat. Turiaf started the second half and had two thunderous dunks in the third quarter. On the flip side, Turiaf did miss all four of his free throws. Anthony scored nine points and grabbed seven boards in 24 minutes, catching passes, finishing at the rim and grabbing some of the "50-50 balls."
The Heat won the game despite failing to make a 3-pointer for the first time in franchise playoff history. Mike Miller didn't even take a shot from beyond the arc, and Mario Chalmers only attempted one. Shane Battier only attempted two, and one of those shots was a desperation shot at the buzzer of the third-quarter. The Heat will need to look at the tape and make adjustments. Bosh's status for the rest of the series is unknown, but Miami may need to win the series without him.
Game 2 is Tuesday at 7 p.m.