Dear readers, I wrote this article at 6:30 today. Unfortunately, I got busy, and just now got the chance to publish it. Sorry for the inconvenience.
n less than an hour, the Miami Heat will attempt to do exactly what they failed at in Wednesday’s Game 5: win and move on to the NBA Finals.
They came close to doing that in the last game, due in large part to Dwayne Wade and Rashard Lewis, who turned back the clock 10 years, and made six three-pointers. At the end of the day, however, but Lebron James’ foul trouble, combined with Paul George’s 21 fourth quarter points gave the Indiana Pacers a much needed 93-90 victory.
The win gave the Pacers a chance to continue their season, but there are many reasons to believe that they won’t prevail tonight. For one, there is the way they played in Games 3 and 4.
In Game 3, the Pacers were up 17-4 with just three minutes remaining in the opening quarter, and in the second, they were up 37-22 with 5:39 left in the half. However, a Miami 16-4 run trimmed the Pacer lead to 42-38 by halftime, and the Heat led 71-64 going into the final quarter. The Pacers kept it close for most of the final frame, but Ray Allen and others caused the lead to well up to 99-82, with just 1:34 left in the game. They won Game 3 by a final score of 99-87, and had taken a 2-1 series lead.
In Game 4, despite knowing they needed to win in Miami, the Pacers flopped. Despite cutting the deficit to four in the second quarter, and only trailing 49-44 at halftime, the Pacers wound up trailing by double digits for most of the second half. They trailed by as many as 23, and ultimately lost 102-90.
The Heat only committed five turnovers for the entire game, and their “Big 3” of Lebron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 72 points. Lebron himself had 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
The Heat had a chance to close out the series in Game 5, but Lebron James got into foul troube early and often. As a result, he played a career playoff low 24 minutes, scoring just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Despite Lebron’s tough night, the Heat played well, due in large part to Bosh and Rashard Lewis. Lewis, who went 0-for-5 in 26 minutes in Game 4, made six of nine three-point shots, while Bosh scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Dwayne Wade scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out seven assists. The team made 15 three pointers in the game, but Bosh missed the one that counted most at the end of the game.
For Indiana, the urgency was present in the first quarter, where the team led by as many as eight, until Dwayne Wade’s buzzer-beating jumper trimmed the lead down to 22-16. In the second quarter, however, the Pacers looked done. They got outscored 26-11 by the Heat, and trailed 42-33 at halftime.
In the third quarter, however, the Pacers once again flipped the script. They outscored Miami 31-15, and took a 64-57 lead into the final quarter. Then, Paul George happened.
George scored 21 points in the final quarter, giving him a statline of 37 points, six rebounds, two assists, and six steals. However, the Heat kept it close, and with the score being 92-90, instead of shooting the ball, Lebron passed it to Chris Bosh, who missed the corner three-pointer with four seconds left. David West got the rebound, made a free throw, and Indiana survived by a score of 93-90.
All that said, the Pacers stand no chance tonight. For one, Lebron James will not get into foul trouble at home. He could punch every Pacer in the throat, but he will not get fouled out. Also, the Pacers can’t seem to succeed in Miami. Pau George will not be great again, and that will be that. The analysis can go on, but the need isn’t there. Miami will blow Indiana out, and the two-time defending champs will be back in the final round.
Congratulations in advance Heat “fans”, because your team will predictably make it back to the NBA Finals.