Heat guard Norris Cole (30) attempts to score around Indiana
Pacers center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the second half of
Game 2 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals
playoff series, Friday, May 24, 2013, in Miami.
MIAMI — David
West was more than a little disappointed when the Indiana Pacers
failed to make a defensive play at the end to win Game 1 of the
Eastern Conference finals.
So in Game 2, he
made those plays himself. Twice, in fact.
And he victimized
the game's best player to make them happen.
LeBron James had
two turnovers in the last minute — both when passes that he
called "careless" got broken up by West — and the
Miami Heat lost both a game and the home-court edge in the series.
Roy Hibbert scored a postseason career-high 29 points and grabbed
10 rebounds, and the Pacers beat the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 of the
East finals on Friday night.
"I made two
mistakes tonight that hurt our team," James said. "And
that hurt more than anything. I let my teammates down. They expect
me to make plays down the stretch and I had the ball with an
opportunity to make a couple plays, and I came up short.
but the best thing about it is, this isn't college. It's not one
loss and you're done. I have another opportunity to get better in
James led all
scorers with 36 points, but his night will be remembered by the
two passes where he tried to find Ray Allen and got denied by
West's hands both times.
With Indiana up
95-93, West intercepted a pass that James tried to swing toward
Allen with 43 seconds left. Indiana didn't cash in that mistake,
instead turning the ball over with a shot-clock violation.
So on the next
Miami trip, West denied James — again.
James drove to
the right block, spun and tried passing out toward the perimeter.
West got his right hand on that pass, knocking it off-course and
into the hands of George Hill, then extended his hand skyward.
The Pacers —
just as they did in the second-round series last year — knew
they were winning Game 2 in Miami. Hill made two free throws with
8.3 seconds left to clinch it, and just like that, the series was
Pacers forward Paul George (24) attempt to score as Miami
Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) defends during the second half of
Game 2 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals
playoff series, Friday, May 24, 2013, in Miami. The Pacers
defeated the Heat 97-93.
Game 1, Miami won
it with James coming through at the end.
Game 2, the
Pacers simply took away the MVP's opportunity.
able to maintain our composure throughout the year," West
said. "That's helped us throughout these playoffs and
especially in environments like these."
scored 22 points, Hill added 18 and West finished with 13 for the
Pacers, who handed the Heat just their fourth loss in their last
50 games, closed the game on a 13-5 run — and denied one of the
game's best playmakers twice in the final moments.
only like one person that's more scarier than that," Hill
said, speaking of James. "And that's, you know, God."
resumes with Game 3 on Sunday night in Indianapolis.
"It's one of
the best basketball games I've ever been a part of," Pacers
coach Frank Vogel said. "It wasn't about LeBron making
mistakes down the stretch. He played one of the best basketball
games I've ever seen anybody play. We were just able to make a
couple plays late in the game."
The Heat got 17
points from Chris Bosh and 14 from Dwyane Wade and led by four in
the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 13 in the early
going. And afterward, they said there was no problem with James'
broke down," Wade said. "He's going to be hard on
himself. He saw guys open, but West was able to get his arms out
there at the last moment."
The Heat trailed
for virtually all of the game's first 30 minutes, then tied the
game three times in the third quarter — but Indiana always had a
response. When the game was tied at 60, the Pacers scored seven of
the next 10 points. Tied at 67, George quickly had a layup to put
the Pacers back on top. Tied at 69, George struck again, this time
with a jumper.
With 5.1 seconds
left in the third, George drove the lane and finished a
highlight-reel dunk over Miami's Chris Andersen while getting
fouled, the free throw putting the Pacers up by five. James
connected on a long 3-pointer to close the quarter, then he and
George exchanged a few words afterward and slapped each other's
hand as if to say, "here we go."
Sure enough, the
show was just getting started.
"We had our
chance tonight," said Bosh.
creating one problem after another for Miami, so James took it
upon himself to challenge him in the fourth. And with about 8
minutes left, he swatted a putback attempt away from the 7-foot-2
Indiana center, starting a play that ended with Chalmers scoring
at the other end to give Miami an 85-84 lead.
On the next
possession, James tied up a rebound with Hibbert then won the
ensuing jump ball. Not long afterward, Bosh made a 3-pointer and
Miami's lead was up to 88-84 — its biggest of the night.
didn't finish the game like we're capable of," Heat coach
Erik Spoelstra said.
the next five points to reclaim the lead. James' three-point play
with 3:32 left put the Heat on top 91-89, and Hibbert answered
that with a jump hook over the reigning MVP to tie the game for
the 10th time.
Frantic to the
finish, again. And this time it went Indiana's way.
"Heck of a
basketball game, wasn't it?" Vogel asked afterward.
Florida resident Jozy Altidore of the U.S. men's national soccer
team was among those in attendance, two days before he's set to
report to Cleveland and begin training camp for the upcoming World
Cup qualifiers. Other celebs in the crowd included newly retired
football star and Miami Hurricanes great Ray Lewis, Baseball Hall
of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and Rosie O'Donnell. ... The Pacers were
called for four technicals (one a defensive 3-second) in a
4-minute span of the second quarter. ... Indiana reserve Sam Young
sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. ... Indiana was not
planning to fly home after the game, instead staying in Miami one
more night and avoiding getting back to Indianapolis around 4 a.m.
or even later.