The Indiana Pacers completely took the Miami Heat out of their game in the second half of Game 6 and beat the Heat 91-77 to force a Game 7 in Miami.
The story continues to be the lack of help that LeBron James has gotten from his teammates. Without the suspended Chris Andersen, the Heat got contributions from Norris Cole in the first half to help give the Heat a 40-39 lead. Miami made 6-7 from downtown, but struggled anywhere from inside the ark.
The second half was abysmal for Miami. They scored 37 points while giving up 52 points to the Pacers. Miami shot 36% from the field. They were out rebounded 53-33 by the Pacers. It wasn't until 3:46 left in the third quarter that the Heat took their first free throws from a contact foul. LeBron James was called for a technical foul after being called for an offense foul against Hibbert when he simply ran away from the official.
But the problem for the Heat was not just rebounds, it was offense. LeBron James scored 29 points, had 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but shot only 10-21 from the field. Dwyane Wade had a meager 10 points on 3-11 shooting. But Chris Bosh was 1-8 and had only 5 points and 4 rebounds. Bosh hit a 3-pointer, and then went silent for the rest of the game.
Paul George led the Pacers with 28 points and Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 11 rebounds. David West also had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Udonis Haslem went scoreless for Miami, and Shane Battier only played 4 minutes. It's a far cry from the productivity that Battier had in last years playoffs when the Heat played much more smoothly on offense.
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It is just not a realistic expectation to think LeBron James can lead this team on the road with only two other players getting in double figures with 10 points. Wade and Bosh sat out the first 8 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter as LeBron tried to bring the Heat back.
Trailing by as many as 17 points in the second half, LeBron was able to get the deficit to 4 points, but Miami couldn't hang out. Timely rebounds and shots by the Pacers kept their lead and pushed it back up. Mike Miller got some minutes and connected on his only two 3-point attempts.
Miami will need to again readjust their game plan to fix the rebounding issue, and they better hope they shoot a good percentage in Game 7, because anything can happen. The Pacers have proven to be a worthy opponent, but the lack of production from both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh has been disappointing.