The Indiana Pacers knew during Friday’s Game 2 that LeBron James would probably be the reason for any close defeat. What they probably didn’t guess is that LeBron James beating himself would end up being the reason for the change in tone and outlook of this Eastern Conference final.
For most of Game 2, there was absolutely nothing the Indiana Pacers could do about James. The team guarded him smartly, with tough and athletic All-Star Paul George ignoring foul trouble and an embarrassing end to Game 1 to stick with James throughout. Indiana’s league-best defense funneled him to uncomfortable spots on the wing and minded him expertly in transition. By the time the end of the fourth quarter hit, James (who finished with 36 points while hitting 70 percent of his shots) had dragged his Heat to what seemed like was going to be a 2-0 series lead.
Instead of the full drag, though, James played the goat. Two last minute passes were deflected by Pacer forward David West, giving Indiana the extra possessions it needed to pull out an inspired 97-93 win. The Pacers did not doubt themselves in the wake of what could have been a mood-altering overtime loss in Game 1, rallying behind coach Frank Vogel on the way to a tough win over a team that they now have downed in three out of five regular and postseason contests.
And although the headlines will center on some flashy dunks or James’ late game gaffes, the Pacers won because of the dominant play of big man Roy Hibbert. Yes, “dominant.”Read More »from Indiana ties the Eastern Conference finals behind Roy Hibbert’s dominance and LeBron James’ miscues