Thursday, March 27, 2014
Keys to victory: Pacers 84, Heat 83
By ESPN Stats & Information
The Indiana Pacers' win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night lived up to its billing as one of the most intense matchups of the NBA season.
The Heat could not close the game against the Indiana Pacers.
The physicality of the contest might turn out to be one of the big storylines, but what else was of note?
Shot of the game: West for 3
David West hit a 3-pointer to extend the Pacers' lead to 84-80. Prior to the shot, West was 3-for-12 on 3-point attempts this season and was a 25 percent shooter from 3-point range for his career.
James scores 38 but struggles down stretch
LeBron James finished with 38 points for the Heat but had as many turnovers (three) as points in the final 9:13 of the game.
James’ average shot distance in the fourth quarter was 18.2 feet from the basket. In the first three quarters, James’ average shot was 11.5 feet from the basket.
James has 21 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field in what is defined as "clutch time" (last five minutes, score within five points) since his 61-point game on March 3. He was 1-for-3 in this game.
That might explain why Chris Bosh took the last shot. Bosh entered the day 2-for-4 on potential go-ahead field goals in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime since becoming teammates with James. James is 2-for-13 in that same span.
Overall, the Heat were 4-for-13 from the field and committed seven turnovers in the final 12 minutes. They finished the game with only 61 shots, the fewest by any team in any game this season.
Part of the reason for the low number of attempts was the pace, as the Heat had only 87 possessions. Heat games against the Pacers have had a slower average pace (88.3) than Heat games against any other opponent over the past two seasons, including the playoffs.
Pacers cut off the Heat drives
The Heat scored 20 points in the paint in the first half, with 12 of those coming off drives to the basket.
But the Pacers clamped down in the second half, limiting the Heat to only 10 points in the paint, six of which came off drives.
The Heat could not make a shot from the outside, either. They shot 35 percent from 15 feet and beyond, including 2-for-10 in the fourth quarter.
George finds his way
Paul George scored 11 of his 23 points when guarded by LeBron James. He was 5-for-10 shooting against him.
George struggled against James in their first two meetings this season, scoring 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting in the two games combined.
Hibbert comes up big again
Roy Hibbert averaged 12 points per game in his first 16 career meetings with the Heat.
Since then, he's raised his play, and the Pacers have benefited. He had 21 points in Wednesday's win and is now averaging 20.6 points on 56 percent shooting in his past 10 games against the Heat.
Taking care of business
With the win, the Pacers improved to 8-0 at home against the other teams that are currently ranked in the top five of the Eastern Conference (2-0 each against the Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets).