Pacers try to regroup for Game 2 of East Finals
(Sports Network) - LeBron James led the Miami Heat to victory in Game 1 and on Friday, the defending champions will try for a 2-0 lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.
With 2.2 seconds on the clock, James got the inbounds pass, streaked by Paul George and cruised in for the winning layup in overtime. The Heat survived, 103-102.
"I peeked over my left shoulder. I saw Paul George was a little out of place. So I just took off," said James, who had a remarkable triple-double of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on Wednesday.
George over-played and made things much easier on James. But much of the discussion about the play centered around Pacers' coach Frank Vogel's decision to not have shot-blocker Roy Hibbert on the floor.
Hibbert, who received votes for the All-Defensive team, was on the bench when James streaked to the hoop for a lay-in with 10 seconds left, then Vogel did not re-insert him after George buried three huge free throws to give the Pacers the lead.
Miami had the ball out of bounds on its sideline, but Indiana called timeout, once again, giving Vogel a chance to check Hibbert into the game. He didn't. George, another member of the All-Defensive team, botched the defensive assignment, as James glided to the rim and the Heat won.
Vogel explained his decision to keep Hibbert on the bench.
"That's the dilemma they present when they have Chris Bosh at the five spot and his ability to space the floor," said Vogel. "We put a switching lineup in with the intent to switch, keep everything in front of us and try to go into or force a challenged jump shot."
And would Vogel have Hibbert in there if the situation presented itself again?
"We'll have to evaluate and see what we'll do the next time," he said. "I would say we'll probably have him in next time."
On Thursday, Vogel addressed the criticism, which came from everyone with an opinion and an outlet to express it.
"It's natural," he said. "When you make a coaching decision and it doesn't work, you're going to be second-guessed. Part of the business.
"All I can say is, it was a sound plan. When you have five 3-point shooters on the court, you need a switching lineup out there with five guys who are great ball containers."
George made the critical mistake, but was outstanding for four quarters and 4:50 of overtime. He drained a long 3-pointer to tie it and force overtime, then, the first-time All-Star sank three free throws to give the Pacers a one- point lead.
"I made a bonehead mistake of pressuring up on LeBron," said George. "We're all a young team. Coach is a young coach. We'll all grow together. So that's something that we have to learn from."
George paced Indiana with 27 points, followed by 26 from David West and 19 from Hibbert. Tyler Hansbrough added 10 off the bench as the awesome Pacers front line did its part.
The back court did not. George Hill managed only five points in almost 45 minutes and Lance Stephenson had seven, although he did pull down 12 rebounds.
James was his typical MVP self, but Miami got great efforts from almost everyone.
Dwyane Wade, who fouled out, scored 19 points, and Bosh netted 17. Mario Chalmers chipped in 10 points and Chris Andersen was amazing with 16 points, on 7-for-7 shooting, in just 18 minutes.
Both teams know improvements can be made, especially since both had 20-plus turnovers.
"We know we can get better. We watched the film. We had 20-plus turnovers, which is uncharacteristic of us," said James. "That's why each game is its own, and you try to learn from your mistakes in the previous game."
Game 3 will be in Indianapolis on Sunday night.
05/24 10:29:41 ET