roy hibbert

The Indiana Pacers threw open the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Friday, upsetting the Miami Heat with a 97-93 victory to level the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

LeBron James scored 36 points for Miami but gave up two crucial turnovers down the stretch that cost the Heat, while Roy Hibbert top-scored for the Pacers with 29 points and Paul George added 22 and produced some outstanding defensive work.

“That was a heck of a basketball game wasn’t it?” said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, whose team never looked intimidated in either of the opening games on the defending champions’ home court.

“This team believe we can win this series and they are giving it all their might, playing with confidence and rising to the challenge,” he added.

The Pacers took full advantage of a slow start from Miami, grabbing a 10-point lead midway through the first quarter and they were up 53-47 at halftime.

With James producing some outstanding play yet again, Miami fought back and led 88-84 with 6:09 on the clock but, as in Wednesday’s Game One overtime thriller, the Pacers refused to buckle and came roaring back.

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters