Can LeBron James and the Heat bounce back to win Game 2 tonight?The Miami Heat will look to even the series tonight (8:30 ET on ESPN) against the Indiana Pacers after suffering an 11-point defeat in Game 1.
Let’s take a look at the key storylines heading into tonight’s pivotal Game 2.
In the history of the NBA playoffs, teams that have won Game 1 of a best-of-seven series have gone on to win the series 77 percent of the time.
Furthermore, teams that win Game 1 of Conference Finals by double digits have won 23 of 25 series under the current playoff format (since 1984).
But the odds are actually tougher than that for the Pacers. The Pacers are the 38th team in NBA history to take a 1-0 lead in a best-of-seven series against the defending champions. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, of the previous 37 teams to do that, only 19 (51 percent) went on to win the series.
Can the Heat bounce back?
The Heat have shown a knack for bouncing back from defeats. They have won 10 straight postseason games following a loss dating back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.
Heat Trailing 1-0 in Postseason Series
Big 3 Era (Since 2010-11)
This is the fifth time in the Big 3 era (since 2010-11 season) that the Heat have trailed 1-0 in a postseason series. Miami has gone on to win each of the previous four series.
Furthermore, the last time the Heat lost a series in which they trailed at any point in the series was the 2011 NBA Finals vs the Dallas Mavericks when they lost Game 6 after falling behind 3-2.
Since then, they've won seven straight games immediately after falling behind in a series. And in five of those instances, they never lost again in the series.
History tells us that the Heat will be in big trouble if they go down 2-0. Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 series go on to win the series 94 percent of the time.
Pacers offense vs Heat
One of the keys to the Pacers’ win on Sunday was its ability to get to the charity stripe, attempting 22 more free throws than the Heat. The Heat have now played 389 games in the Big 3 era. Only twice over that span have they had a worse free throw attempt disparity.
Pacers Pick-and-Roll Offense
The combination of good Pacers ball movement and Heat defensive breakdowns led to the Pacers exceeding their averages with their pick-and-roll offense in Game 1.
Indiana scored 45 points on 54 percent shooting when using the pick-and-roll on Sunday, which was nearly double their per-game average during their first 13 postseason games.
The Pacers also need to get Roy Hibbert involved. He is averaging 12.7 points per game in the team’s wins and just 3.2 in its losses in the playoffs. The Pacers are 6-0 when Hibbert scores in double digits and 3-5 when he doesn’t during the postseason.