No Big Three meant one big problem for Miami, and one very big win for Indiana.
David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, George Hill added 15 and the Indiana Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.
LeBron James scored 28 points for Miami and Dwyane Wade finished with 24, but both missed big chances for the Heat late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining.
Mario Chalmers’ 3-pointer to tie bounced away on the final play, and the series was tied 1-1.
Danny Granger scored 11 points and Paul George added 10 for Indiana, which took advantage of Heat forward Chris Bosh’s absence and outrebounded Miami 50-40.
– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press
Still unknown is whether Bosh can make it back from his lower-abdominal strain during this series or during the postseason at all.
In his absence, LeBron James against continued with the heavy lifting, with 28 points Tuesday, again playing the entire second half, with Heat guard Dwyane Wade adding 24 in a largely uneven performance. James also had six steals, a personal postseason high, and the most ever by a Heat player in a playoff game.
Beyond that, there was precious little for the Heat, who eventually ran out of gas on a night they shot 20 of 29 from the foul line and 1 of 16 on 3-points.
In the end, the Pacers had greater balance and a few more free throws when needed, led by the 16 points and 10 rebounds of forward David West, on a night the Pacers outrebounded the Bosh-less Heat 50-40.
The game ended with Heat point guard Mario Chalmers off on a 3-pointer.
The third quarter was an exercise in misery for the Heat, opening the second half 1 of 12 from the field, as the Pacers used a 16-3 run to move to a 53-46 lead.
It set up the ugly finish.
– Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Indiana used a 12-0 run in the second quarter to get back into the contest, then a 28-14 advantage in the third to seize control. The Heat would close the gap in the fourth quarter and eventually take a 71-70 lead.
But Indiana, displaying the grit and late game poise that eluded them in Game 1, used a key bucket from David West, a timely block from Paul George and the misses of Wade and Chalmers to finish the job.
James had 28 to lead the Heat, while Wade added 24, but no other Heat player reached double digits.
– Reported by Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star