The Eastern-leading Pacers rebounded from a poor performance in the first quarter to beat the Heat 90-84 for a game that evidently meant more than one out of 82 regular season games. Miami, though, had a chance to win the game in the final moments, down by five with 2:05 left to go. But LeBron James missed a layup over Hibbert and later air-balled a 3-pointer after a perplexing minute that involved the referees overturning a goaltending call.
Miami dominated the first quarter 30-19, and the Pacers looked a little nervous. James locked down Paul George, holding him to just two points in the entire first half. But once Ray Allen switched onto George after James picked up his third foul, George began his assault. James also shot just 6-of-16 from the field and missed two crucial free throws in the fourth quarter.
In the end, though, no one will remember this game in five months. Barring a major injury, these two teams will meet each other in the conference finals again. It would be foolish to expect anything less than a hard-fought series based on the regular season.
Check back here shortly for a recap written by Hot Hot Hoops' Matt Pineda, who attended the game.