The Heat escaped an overtime victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers. LeBron James hit a layup as time expired to give the Heat the victory and a 1-0 series lead.
Although Miami got off to a decent start in the first quarter, the first half was sluggish in general. A lot of fouls and turnovers kept the score low, just how the Pacers like it. The Heat trailed by 5 at halftime. The second half saw the Heat more focused and Miami quickly buit a 5 point lead after halftime. The Pacers caught back up and the game was played in a tight margin for the remainder of the game.
The Heat found themselves close to victory in regulation up two, 18 seconds to go with Allen at the free throw line, but he only made one. After several Pacer blunders offensively, they desperately found Paul George for a 30-foot 3-pointer and he nailed with 0.7 seconds to go. Ray Allen then missed a corner shot for the win.
Overtime found many of the players fatigued, tallying 40+ minutes. Paul George caught more rhythm in overtime taking over for the Pacers, while the Heat struggled to manufacture offense. Chris Bosh's 2nd rebound of the game got him and and-1 put-back that tied the game at 99 with under a minute to play. The next Heat possession found James getting a layup as Indiana took Roy Hibbert out to match up with the smaller Heat. After a inbounds scramble, Wade fouled George on a long three and George knocked down all all of them to give the Pacers a 1 point lead.
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Then, it happened. Vogel took Hibbert out again, not sure why, but he did. And LeBron drove straight to the rim past George and scored a layup as time expired. The Heat won the game 103-102 and took Game 1.
LeBron James led the Heat with his 9th postseason triple double of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Norris Cole played most of the second half for Miami as Mario Chalmers left the game with a shoulder injury. The Heat's x-factors were bad. Ray Allen and Shane Battier were a combined 1-12. But the Heat found a way to win it in fashion.
Dwyane Wade played with a lot of effort and collected 19 points before fouling out late. David West guided the Pacers all game with 26 points. Miami had no answer for him, and will have to figure that out moving forward. George, who scored only 2 points in the first half, ended up with 27 points, including the go ahead three at the end of regulation. Chris Andersen brought the energy for Miami and scored 16 points off the bench to make up for the absence of Allen and Battier's scoring.
The Heat didn't play their best game, missing 9 free throws and having 20 turnovers. The Heat only lost the rebound battle by 5 to Indiana.
The Heat lead 1-0 and will host Game 2 on Friday night.
Watch the game winner here: