The HEAT took the floor in the Fieldhouse in Indiana for an 8:30 tip-off. The locals, whether feeling any confidence or not, filled the house with shirts of gold and rapidly fading visions of an NBA title. Their confidence was noticeably low at first. It would improve greatly in the third quarter. Still, they will have to take their talents through South Beach if they want to ball for a Title.
First Quarter Recap
After a miss by each team, Mario Chalmers hit LeBron James for a scoreboard opening alley-oop dunk. It was the only points until the 9:41 mark, when the Pacers finally got on the board with a George Hill layup. It would also turn out to be LeBron's only points of the first half. After another bucket for Indiana, Chris Bosh drained a three-pointer from the left corner. At the six minute mark, the Heat had found the net two times, and the Pacers had four two-point baskets for an 8-5 lead.
Bosh closed the deficit to one with a jumper from the right wing, but Roy Hibbert showed signs of life with a driving layup and a 10-7 lead, prompting Erik Spoelstra to spend Miami's first time out. Rashard Lewis finally sunk a three pointer, the only Heat points in the midst of a 10-3 Pacers run. Chalmers got a layup after twice circling the basket (like a dog looking for somewhere to nap) to break the drought and close the gap to 18-12. On the return trip down the court, James picked up his second foul much to the delight (and surprise) of Indiana's faithful. Hill failed to capitalize, missing both foul shots.
A David West jumper from the left side drove the lead up to a game high eight points for Indy. Udonis Haslem drove the lane (!) for two. Dwyane Wade made a tricky steal, but gave the ball right back on a bad pass. He redeemed himself somewhat by hitting a soft jumper at the buzzer for a 22-16 Pacers lead at the end of the quarter.
First Quarter Observations
- The best HEAT player was Chris Bosh, who started the game with a two-for-four frame, scoring five points with a board, a steal, and a rejection in eight minutes.
- Udonis Haslem's layup was a thing of beauty. He drove the left baseline and went up and under for an easy two.
- After one, the HEAT were only seven-of-19 from the floor (36.8%) with six rebounds, while the Pacers had 16 boards and went 10 for their first 20 shots.
- The HEAT collected six personal fouls in the first quarter to only two for the Pacers. I guess they're on their best behavior.
Second Quarter Recap
Bosh knocked down a long two to open the scoring after the short break. Wade hit a runner to close it to two, then Luis Scola answered with an easy drive. Wade hit another shot his next time down. Shane Battier really went all out to corral a loose ball, and Wade tied the game on the resulting possession with a pair of foul shots.
Despite a series of broken plays from each team, Ray Allen gave Miami a lead at the eight minute mark with a three-pointer from the left corner. He followed that play by holding onto the ball for a long time and circling the floor before hitting an uncontested 18 footer. George Hill hit a three, then Allen scored another two.
Hibbert backed Bosh down, and was called for an offensive foul. It seems one good turn deserves another, and LeBron (just recently having returned to the court) was also called for a charge. He walked directly to the bench, with the HEAT up by five and six minutes left in the half.
Scola scored Indiana's second and third baskets of the quarter with five minutes remaining to interrupt a 17-2 Miami run. Bosh hit a soft 15-footer for a 33-28 lead, then Hibbert was pressured into traveling. Wade turned the ball over, then Hill used the entire 24-second clock and rattled home a three-pointer despite perfect Miami defense.
Scola missed a pair of free throws, then Lewis hit his second bomb of the game for a five point lead. Lance Stephenson did his part to keep it close the next time down the court with two points, followed by a three-point play from Rio. Allen pushed Miami's lead out to nine with an automatic 27-footer from the left wing. Paul George closed the quarter with a poorly executed three-point attempt. Miami led at the break by a 42-33 margin.
Second Quarter Observations
- Allen led the HEAT with 10 points on four-of-seven shooting and a plus-14 rating, while Norris Cole and Dwyane Wade were each at plus-13.
- LeBron James ranked sixth on the team with 10:27 on the court. I don't know how to look it up, but I'd be willing to bet it's the first time he has had five people play more minutes than him in a first half.
- Forget Game Six, Miami wants this right now.
- Aside from James' foul trouble, the foul situation had little impact on the bottom line, with the Pacers hitting two-of-six and the HEAT hitting three-of-three.
Third Quarter Recap
James started off the third quarter by getting his fourth foul on a Hibbert layup, but Hibbert missed the free throw. James stayed in the game. Both teams went a little cold after that, with each missing several shots before Lewis hit his third trey of the contest at the 9:12 mark for a game-high 10-point HEAT lead. After a Hill field goal, James was called for his fifth foul of the night. Lewis drained one from the left corner, but West and Stephenson scored the next four for the Pacers.
Wade sunk a smooth jumper, followed by a Hibbert layup. West cut the lead to six by hitting one-of-two foul shots. Stephenson drew a foul from Cole, and made both foul shots. Allen bricked a three, and Indiana answered with a Hibbert skyhook. Hill stole the ball and drove the length of the court but couldn't close the deal, as Hibbert got fouled by Allen going for a putback. He made both attempts from the charity stripe, and George stole the next possession to give the Pacers a 52-50 lead. Haslem ended Indiana's 15-2 run with a layup to keep the game tied.
Michael Beasley, a veteran of three minutes in the 2014 playoffs, came off the bench with three minutes left in the quarter. George really got the crowd going with a three pointer. Stephenson made a runner, and straight up chest-bumped Wade for a foul. Allen converted both free throws, then nailed a three to cut Indiana's lead to two. West scored for Indy, then George sunk a three-pointer at the buzzer and a 64-57 Pacers lead.
Third Quarter Observations
- After a strong first quarter, Bosh sunk just two-of-nine shots since.
- I'm not ready to start pointing fingers at officials, but do you think they may have something to prove? James with five fouls in 13 minutes? I'm sure that some fans of other teams will say "Well it's about time."
- Lance Stephenson joined the Miami huddle with two minutes left, but no Miami player challenged him. I think having the Birdman on the floor would have alleviated this.
- Chalmers and Stephenson collided hard in the final minute of the quarter. Rio hurt his hand, Stephenson was favoring his midsection.
Fourth Quarter Recap
Fourth Quarter Observations
- Paul George was disgusting in the final frame, going eight-for-10 for 21 points, including three three-pointers. He finished with 37 on a 15-of-28 night.
- Bosh ended the game with a HEAT leading 20 points, while Lewis hit six-of-nine three-pointers.
- James scored a career playoff-low seven points on two-of-10 shooting. His previous low was eight, in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on June 7th, 2011.
- Roy Hibbert posted a double-double, with 10 points and 13 boards.
That was mostly fun, even if it ended a little painfully. Make sure to join us back here for Game Six on Friday night. In the meantime, keep it dialed in at Hot Hot Hoops for all kinds of Miami HEAT goodness. For a look at the other side, go to Indy Cornrows.