From ear blowing and flopping to criticizing officials, the Heat Pacers series has been an entertaining one.
Lance Stephenson may have gotten under the skin and inside the head of LeBron James but the four-time MVP will eventually lead the Heat to the finals. It’s just a matter of when.
Miami should’ve finished Indiana in Game 5; however, I believe there was a bigger reason not to and instead keep the series alive.
LeBron James flat out just didn’t try. He scored only 7 points, shooting 2-of-10 from the field and had 5 fouls. LeBron is averaging 27 points per game on 9-of-17 shooting in the post season. He was just 1-of-5 in the paint and ineffective on drives going 0-3, just a lackadaisical performance. He was 8-of-13 on drives so far in this series.
The Heat had 17 turnovers and scored only 22 points in the paint, a lot of which had to do with LeBron’s foul trouble.
The game turned in the third quarter when LeBron picked up his fifth foul and the Heat were outscored 16-2 in the paint. Some of those foul calls were questionable. LeBron never gets in foul trouble like that.
I do find it interesting how in Game 4 the Heat went to the free throw line 34 times, scoring 30 extra points, while the Pacers were 11-17 from the free throw line and in Game 5 the Pacers went to the line 22 times, while the Heat went only 8 times.
Of course, officials make mistakes but they do control a lot of what happens on the court, which eventually affects the outcome of a game. In fact, the team that made more trips to the free throw line won four out of the 5 games in this series.
But hey, more games mean more revenue, right? And more games mean more basketball for us. A win-win situation.
Nevertheless, the Heat managed to keep Game 5 within reach and only lose by 3.
Chris Bosh scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 18 and Ray Allen added 15 to keep it close. The Heat made 15-of-31 3-pointers but nothing could stop Paul George’s offensive attack. Not even the refs.
George knew Game 5 was do or die as his team was down 3-1. So, he went absolutely insane, scoring 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to save his Pacers from elimination with a 93-90 win.
He finished with six rebounds, six steals, five 3-pointers and only three turnovers in 45 minutes.
George got off to a slow start but eventually led Pacers on a 12-5 run with a series of dunks and three-pointers to close the third quarter. Three of his baskets came off turnovers he forced and four shots he created for himself. He helped extend Indiana’s lead to 77-66 early in the fourth.
But that lead was cut to two after LeBron James came back into the game and the game would eventually be tied after LeBron hit a three. Paul George and David West, who finished with 19 points, took over the game from there.
Heat down 3 with 12 seconds left, LeBron James had the chance to take it to the basket for a quick 2 but instead dished it out to Chris Bosh who missed the three-pointer.
Should LeBron have passed up that shot? I don’t know. He did what he thought was right at the time but that shot wasn’t the deciding factor of the game and it should’ve never came down to that.
Paul George’s incredible performance was the deciding factor of this game and both the Heat and the refs had no control over it. Indiana also had a 45-38 rebounding advantage.
Roy Hibbert, who had only five rebounds in Game 4, grabbed five in the first seven minutes in Game 5, finishing with 13. He also went scoreless in Game 4 after averaging 15.7 points in Games 1-3 but scored 10 on Wednesday.
Lance Stephenson scored 12 points and had 5 rebounds and assists on top of his antics of blowing in LeBron’s ear and attempting to listen in on the Heat’s group huddle.
Stephenson was also fined $10,000 for his second flopping offense along with Roy Hibbert who was fined $5,000.
In addition, Paul George saw a fine of $25,000 after criticizing officials in Game 4.
So, the Pacers are an interesting group, to say the least, but they’ll do whatever it takes to compete and beat the Heat.
After Game 5, you best believe LeBron James and company are fired up for Game 6 and in the end, I think LeBron and the Heat will be too much for the Pacers and will close out this series with a bang at home tonight in front of their fans to advance to the NBA Finals.