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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Pacers take away strengths of LeBron, Heat

By ESPN Stats & Information


Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
LeBron James (left) was a different player with Paul George on the court this season.

Experience advantage rests with the Heat
Players on the Miami Heat roster have combined for 194 games of Conference Finals experience.

The Indiana Pacers roster features one game of Conference Finals experience -- Ian Mahinmi played one minute for the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.

Best offense vs best defense
During the regular season, the Heat had the best offensive efficiency and the Pacers had the best defensive efficiency. This is the first playoff meeting between the most efficient regular-season offense and defense since the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns met in the 2005 Western Conference Finals. The Spurs, the team with the most efficient defense, won in five games.

The Heat ranked second in transition points per play and first in isolation points per play, but the Pacers ranked second in transition points per play allowed and fourth in isolation points per play allowed.

Inside the Heat’s struggles
The Heat were 1-2 against the Pacers during the regular season and really struggled to score.

Miami averaged 90.3 points per game against the Pacers, its lowest scoring average against any opponent. The Heat were unable to score effectively in the paint and in transition, two things they excelled at all season.

Miami struggled to get easy baskets, averaging 30.7 paint points per game against Indiana, its fewest against any opponent.

That's no surprise -- Indiana allowed the fewest paint points per game (35.5) and the lowest paint field goal percentage (48.1) in the league and was the only team to hold opponents under 50 percent shooting in the paint.

LeBron vs the Pacers
LeBron James played 121 minutes against the Pacers in the regular season and Paul George was on the court for 116 of them.

James averaged 21.0 points per 40 minutes with George on the court in those three games, down from his regular season average of 28.3 points per 40 minutes.

The Pacers also did a nice job keeping James away from the basket -- only 12 of his 46 shots came within five feet of the basket with George on the court.

During the regular season, James took 41 percent of his shots from that close.

James actually shot the ball well when specifically guarded by George (16-for-27), but getting his shot was a challenge. George forced James into 11 turnovers.

James averaged 21.0 points per game in three games against the Pacers, his fewest against any Eastern Conference opponent.

The Pacers were the only team that James averaged fewer than 10 paint points per game against during the regular season.

The Transition Game
The Heat shot 60.5 percent in transition this season, second in the NBA, but averaged only 9.3 transition plays per game against the Pacers (14.5 plays per game against all other teams).

The Pacers shot 63 percent in transition in the three regular-season meetings and outscored Miami 32-25.

The Heat have been dominant in transition during the playoffs, averaging 15.6 transition points per game, the most of any team remaining in the postseason.

Pacers could slow it down
No team played a slower pace against the Heat than the Pacers did this season (87.3 possessions per game). Indiana had the second-highest rebound percentage of any team against the Heat this season (58 percent), outrebounding them in all three meetings.

The Pacers played a slower pace, rebounded better and scored more efficiently against the Heat than they did against all other teams this season.