Pacers 97, Heat 93

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Indiana Pacers recovered from a heartbreaking loss in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals, forcing two last-minute turnovers from LeBron James to defeat the Miami Heat 97-93 on Friday night.
The win evened their series at one game apiece.
The loss was stunning for the Heat, who started the night having won 46 of their previous 49 games.
Game 3 is set for Sunday night in Indianapolis.
Friday's game was decided in the final minute. George Hill made two free throws with 48 seconds left for a 95-93 Pacers lead. James then committed a turnover when David West deflected a pass. But when the Pacers failed to score, the Heat got the ball back trailing by two with 17 seconds left.
James turned it over again when his pass was deflected by West again. Hill then made two free throws with eight seconds left.
The Pacers were led by center Roy Hibbert, who had a playoff career high with 29 points. Forwards Paul George (22 points) and West (13 points) also made key contributions. Hill had 18 points.
The Heat was led by James, who had 36 points. Dwyane Wade added 14 points and Chris Bosh chipped in with 17.
The Heat won the third quarter, cutting the deficit to two points at 76-74.
But the best thing about the third quarter is how it ended.
First, George got the ball just past the free throw line, took a strong dribble to his left to get by James and then dunked with his right hand over Chris "Birdman" Andersen. George then made his free throw -- the foul was the fourth on Andersen -- to complete the three-point play, giving Indiana a 76-71 lead with five seconds left in the quarter.
James, though, answered quickly. He made a long 3-pointer over George at the buzzer.
After hitting the shot, James made a comment to George. But a split-second later, the two exchanged hand slaps in a show of good sportsmanship.
The Pacers dominated most of the first half but led just 53-47 because of how well the Heat closed out each quarter.
Miami ended the first quarter on a 10-4 run and the second quarter on a 7-0 streak. That included a 3-pointer by Mike Miller at the halftime buzzer. Miller received a nearly impossible pass by James, who was triple-teamed at the rim but somehow found Miller.
James led the Heat with 15 first-half points. But little else was going as planned for the defending NBA champions, who made just 13 of 20 free throws (65 percent).
The Pacers also won the power stats, outrebounding Miami 19-14 and scoring more points in the paint (20-14).
In addition, HIbbert was dominant with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and six rebounds.
George had just eight points in 14 minutes, mostly because he was in foul trouble with two personals.
Indiana overcame three technical fouls, two of them for contact after fouls (West and Tyler Hansbrough). The other was on assistant coach Brian Shaw, who yelled "ball don't lie" after the Heat's Ray Allen missed a technical foul shot.
NOTES: Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, who injured his shoulder and missed most of Wednesday's game after halftime, is sore but still started. ... Hill, who is battling a sprained left big toe, also started. ... James was named Thursday to the All-NBA first team for the seventh time. Wade made the third team. George was on the third team. ... Anderson entered the game 29 of 35 from the floor in the playoffs. In the first half, he kept up that phenomenal pace, going 2 of 2.

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