Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers (1.5, 182.5)
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1.
The Indiana Pacers had to answer a lot of questions about Roy Hibbert’s time on the court after getting edged out in Game 1. Hibbert was on the court for all the key moments of Game 2, and as a result the Pacers will host the Miami Heat on Sunday with the series knotted at a game apiece. Indiana deployed its large frontline on both ends of the floor in Game 2 and got 29 points from Hibbert while David West made the key defensive plays.
LeBron James scored 36 points for the Heat but got sloppy at the end, leaving passes too close to the long arms of West on consecutive possessions in the final minute with Miami down a point. Those marked two of James’ five turnovers in the contest. “Very disappointed in my judgment and my plays down the stretch,” James said, “but I‘ll make up for them.” The Pacers came within a last-second layup of taking Game 1 in overtime and will carry plenty of confidence back into their own building, where they have gone 6-0 this postseason. “This whole team is showing great desire and heart and belief,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “They believe they can win this series, and they’re giving it all their might.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami was once again outrebounded by the Pacers, who were able to control the pace for most of the first two games by controlling the glass. Chris Bosh hit a pair of 3-pointers in Game 2 but had only five boards, giving him seven through the first two games. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra even resorted to bringing in seldom-used center Joel Anthony for a few minutes late in the second quarter just to get some size on the floor and give James a break from defending bigger players. Miami still held a four-point edge midway through the fourth quarter and had a pair of chances to tie or take the lead in the final minute before James turned it over. “The first one was a little careless on my part and David West got a hand on it,” James explained to reporters. “And then the second one I saw Ray (Allen) wide open once again and I was careless once again.”
ABOUT THE PACERS: Indiana forward Paul George is becoming a bigger star with each passing game. George (22 points) was not the leading scorer in Game 2 but he again made James work on the defensive end and provided one of the highlight plays with a monster dunk near the end of the third quarter. James followed that with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and the two All-Stars shared a hand slap on their way back to the respective benches. But the Pacers have proven to be much more than one player, and Hibbert and West on the inside have taken turns bumping and bruising James and Bosh. George Hill hit four free throws in the final minute after missing three earlier in the game and Lance Stephenson once again displayed toughness on the boards and in guarding Dwyane Wade on the perimeter. “We haven’t done anything yet,” Hibbert said. “We won one game.”
* Heat are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games following a loss.
* Pacers are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games.
* Over is 5-1 in Heat’s last six overall.
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
1. Miami is shooting 30 percent from 3-point range in the series, with Ray Allen (1-for-6) and Shane Battier (0-for-6) struggling the most.
2. Stephenson’s 20 rebounds are the most for any player through the first two games.
3. Indiana reserve F Sam Young suffered a sprained left ankle in Game 2. He is day-to-day.