Miami wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 18th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 24th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 26th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th|
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|Game 6: Friday, May 30th|
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3:30 PM ET, May 18, 2014
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is done talking about home-court advantage.
The top-seeded Pacers are ready to use it against the two-time defending champs.
They took the first step Sunday, when Paul George finished with 24 points and seven assists, David West added 19 points and seven rebounds, and suddenly surging Indiana led wire-to-wire in a 107-96 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
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When Roy Hibbert flashed a grin, you know things were looking up for the Pacers in Game 1, Brian Windhorst writes. Daily Dime
Miami lost Game 1 as much with its spirit as with its suspect approach and play at times on both ends of the court, Michael Wallace. writes. TrueHoop
"This is just a fun matchup," George said. "It's one that we've been waiting for all year."
For the first time in this year's playoffs, the Pacers won a series opener. And for the first time in their last three playoff battles against the Heat, the Pacers won Game 1.
Game 2 is Tuesday night. The home team has won all five games in this season's fiercest and most competitive rivalry, though none was more impressive or important than this one.
All five Indiana starters and backup C.J. Watson scored in double figures, helping Indiana produce its highest point total of the playoffs.
The Pacers limited the Heat to just four offensive rebounds and 6-of-23 shooting from beyond the arc. LeBron James went 1-of-5 on 3s and shot just two free throws, and Miami fell so far behind so fast, it never even had a chance to tie the score.
Sure, opening this best-of-seven series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse helped. The hometown crowd that sometimes serenaded the Pacers with boos during the first two rounds spent most of the first half on its feet, chanted "De-fense" every time it looked as if the Heat might come back and finished the game with its customary chant of "Beat The Heat!"
Turning Down The Heat
Indiana improved to 7-1 at home against Miami over the last two seasons, including the playoffs.
Miami Heat vs. Pacers
By Location Last 2 Seasons
|* Including Playoffs|
--ESPN Stats & Information
But the biggest difference was on the court.
Indiana shared the ball, limited its turnovers, maintained its poise and got contributions from everyone in a game it had to win. Roy Hibbert finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, Lance Stephenson had 17 points and eight assists, and George Hill added 15 points as the Pacers looked more like the team that was so dominant over the first half of the season, rather than the one struggled so mightily in the second half.
The challengers in this matchup insist they know it's only a start.
"There's nothing to celebrate. It's not like we won a championship. It's one game," Hill said. "Yes, it was good, but if we come out and lay an egg on Tuesday, this game doesn't mean anything."
The toughest part for the Heat will be figuring out what went wrong.
James, who had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Dwyane Wade, who had 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting, desperately tried to rally the Heat but got little help. Chris Bosh had nine points and two rebounds. Ray Allen finished with 12 points.
While Bosh thought the primary problem was Miami's inability to get stops, James wasn't as sure.
"The game's still so fresh. It's too hard to just say, `Well, we need to do this better in Game 2," James said after the Heat lost for just the second time in 10 playoff games. "We need to evaluate our mistakes and things we did in Game 1 first before I can say what we need to bring to Game 2."
SportsNation: Pacers hammer Heat
What do you make of the Pacers' big win over Miami in Game 1? Who will go on to take the series? Vote! »
Clearly, the Pacers weren't the same team that spent most of the last three months answering questions about their second-half swoon.
Indiana swarmed the glass, exploited its size advantage, knocked down six of its first seven 3-pointers and forced the Heat into playing catch-up.
When the Heat cut a 10-point, first-quarter deficit to 41-37 midway through the second quarter, Stephenson scored four points in a 5-0 run to make it 46-37. When James trimmed it to 50-45 with back-to-back baskets late in the quarter, the Pacers ended the half with five straight points to make it 55-45.
Hibbert and West then combined eight of Indiana's first 14 points to open the second half, pushing the lead to 69-52.
James and Wade rallied the Heat within 83-74 early in the fourth, but the Pacers opened it up again to 102-84 with 4:11 to go.
Now comes the hard part -- doing it all over again Tuesday night.
"We've been complacent many times. We just can't get complacent," George said. "We've got to stay humbled off this win and come in with the same mind-set that we have to get another one."
Miami has lost six straight series openers on the road. ... The last two games these teams have played were both decided by double digits. ... Former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine opened the series by playing the National Anthem on his harmonica.
INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 18: ESPN Anaylist Jeff Van Gundy smiles for the camera prior to the Indiana Pacers against the...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MVP: Paul George set the pace for Indiana on both ends of the court. His defense on LeBron James prevented the Heat from effectively executing their offense, and George's 24 points and seven assists spearheaded an outstanding scoring performance from the Pacers.
X factor: David West picked the Heat apart when Miami trapped Indiana on the pick-and-roll, finding space at the free throw line and creating easy offense for Roy Hibbert on the baseline. The Heat simply had no answer for West's offensive versatility.
That was ... decisive: Anyone questioning which Indiana team would show up in this series quickly got the answer on Sunday. The Pacers are ready for the Heat, and the defending champions are on the ropes after Game 1. We've got ourselves a series.
The Pacers outscored the Heat by 19 points with Roy Hibbert on the court Sunday. The Heat's average shot distance was almost 7-feet farther when Hibbert was on the court.[+]
Heat with Hibbert On/Off Court, Sunday
The Heat have now lost Game 1 five times in the Big 3 Era. Miami won each of the previous four series, three of which came in just five games.[+]
Heat Trailing 1-0 - Postseason Series in Big 3 Era (Since 2010-11)
The Pacers offense exploded for 107 points, their most in the last 2 seasons against Miami . According to elias, it was the first time in Pacers postseason history that each of their starters scored 15 points. The unit outscored Miami by 14 when they were on the court together, and assisted on 17 of their 23 made field goals.[+]
Pacers Offense vs Heat Last 2 Seasons (Inc. Postseason)
The Pacers went 13-for-17 from the free-throw line in the 3rd quarter alone in Game 1 vs the Heat, 2 more attempts than the Heat all game (15). There has also been 16 instances this postseason in which a team didn't record 17 free throw attempts in an entire game.
The Pacers' +22 advantage in free throw attempts is the 2nd-largest they have ever had in a playoff game. They converted and attempted more free throws in the third quarter than the Heat had in the entire game.[+]
This was the Pacers' highest offensive efficiency, free throw rate and effective field goal percentage and their second-highest effective field goal percentage in this playoffs.
Four Factors Analysis
The Pacers shot almost 16 percentage points better than the Heat on jump shots Sunday, including 52.6% on catch-and-shoots and all of their 3-pointers.[+]
Jump Shot Offense, Sunday
This is only the 3rd Conference Finals rematch over the last 20 years. In the previous two instances, the winner of the first meeting went on to lose the rematch. The last team to win consecutive Conference Finals against the same opponent were the Pistons in 1989-90 (defeated Bulls).[+]
Conference Final Rematches - Last 20 Years
How important is home-court advantage in the Pacers/Heat series? Over the last 2 seasons and including the playoffs, Miami is 6-1 at home against the Pacers compared to just 1-6 on the road.[+]
Miami Heat - vs Pacers By Location Last 2 Seasons
The Pacers are just 3-4 at home this postseason after going an NBA-best 35-6 in the regular season.[+]
Pacers at Home This Season
Roy Hibbert averaged 22.5 points in Indiana's two wins over Miami this season compared to just 5.5 points in their two losses. Hibbert put up 22.1 points and 10.4 rebounds in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat.[+]
Roy Hibbert vs Heat This Season
The Heat have won 2 games this season when trailing by 10+ points at the half...one was vs Indiana when they trailed by 11 at the half in December... Heat are 2-5 this season when trailing by double-digits at the half...
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.[+]
Pacers Pick-and-Roll Offense - This Postseason
The Heat and Pacers have split 14 head-to-head meetings over the last 2 seasons and including the playoffs. Isolating it to just this past regular season, the teams split 4 meetings.[+]
Head-to-Head Last 2 Seasons - Including Playoffs
LeBron James is averaging 30.0 points this postseason while shooting a career-high 56.4 percent from the field (entered this postseason shooting 47.2 percent from the field in his playoff career). Player efficiency rating is a rating of a player's per-minute productivity and is pace adjusted. Data for the statistic goes back to 1951-52. Through 9 games, LeBron James has posted a player efficiency rating of 32.9, a mark that would be the 3rd-highest all-time in a single postseason among players that logged at least 300 minutes. James holds the all-time mark of 37.4 set back in 2009 and George Mikan sits in second on that list with a PER of 33.6 in 1954. Michael Jordan's highest PER in a single postseason was 32.0 back in 1991 when he captured his first title. Kevin Durant, this season's MVP, has posted a PER of 23.5 this postseason.[+]
The Pacers are 3-4 at home this postseason. ACCORDING TO ELIAS, they are the first No. 1 seed to enter the Conference Finals with a postseason home record below .500.
ESPN Stats & Information