Post-Game Grades: Pacers Steal the Ball Late, Game 2 in Miami, Home-Court Advantage
Easily the best complete game the Pacers have played this postseason. And from an emotional, psychological standpoint, this was Game 6 against the Knicks all over again.
Throughout the second half, the Heat had moments where they looked like they might pull away. It seemed like they kept making plays at the right time. Had Indiana done what they do sometimes — gone drought city for four or five straight possessions — it could have been curtains.
It can happen that fast against Miami.
But Indiana just kept punching back, staying right there and even taking the aggressor role for stretches. It was an incredible ball game all around, with entertainment value that was off the charts and geeky on-court plays all around.
Both teams should have won.
Unfortunately for Miami, the Indiana defense became incredible down the stretch and forced the world’s best player into two turnovers in the final minute.
That was the difference.
Miami had to rely on one guy late and he didn’t deliver while Indiana had four players in the final period score go-ahead points. Quite the luxury.
And it is a luxury that is making it start to look like the Pacers’ Balanced Five may have what it takes after all to beat the Heat’s Big Three.
Now they head back to Indiana with home-court advantage and try to do what they did to Miami last year — and the Knicks two weeks ago: Go up 2-1 in a series.
|David West, PF 41 MIN | 2-9 FG | 9-10 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +16
Was generally terrible for the first 46 minutes. Then got a seal on Ray Allen, caught the entry and went to work, dropping in a little 12 footer that he usually makes in his sleep. Then he twice stole the ball from the best player on the planet. Even when he’s the worst he’s the best.
|Paul George, SF 39 MIN | 9-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +17
Best game of his life? Sublime on all levels.
|Roy Hibbert, C 39 MIN | 10-15 FG | 9-10 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 29 PTS | +12
Best Eastern Conference Finals game of his life.
|George Hill, PG 41 MIN | 6-8 FG | 4-7 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | +12
Redemption is spelled H-I-L-L. In Game 1, he made an ill-advised switch and got roasted by LeBron for a layup. Generally, he was just awful. Tonight, he scored 18 points on 8 shots and had a critical drive late to earn two free throws. Which he made. Also came up with the ball after West’s big deflection on the game-winning forced turnover.
|Lance Stephenson, SG 39 MIN | 4-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +15
Has his moments, drilling a big three with Miami up four, for example, and pushing the ball to get Paul George a confidence-fueling lob. He also had a wacky, over-dribbling move in transition late, however, and his jumper looks like someone heaving a 90-pound oil barrel into a river sometimes. But still rebounding, still having some effect.
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -12
Didn’t do much.
|Sam Young, SF 10 MIN | 0-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -15
|Ian Mahinmi, C 9 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -8
Same, but hit a baseline jumper somehow. Was entertaining while helping Paul George celebrate his dunk.
|D.J. Augustin, PG 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -12
Hit a three, was generally solid.
|Orlando Johnson, SG 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5
Got on the court.
Might get to go a day without his name in the papers.