Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Game Five Recap: Ticky Tack - Heat Nation
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Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Game Five Recap: Ticky Tack

Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Game Five Recap: Ticky Tack

(Indianapolis, IN) — The easiest way to keep the best player in the world from being effective is to keep him off of the court. The Miami Heat have eliminated the Indiana Pacers three years in-a-row in the playoffs; however, they usually rely on LeBron James dominating for 40-plus minutes.  In game five, James found himself in unfamiliar territory: early foul trouble.

The Pacers were carried by their All-Star forward Paul George to a 93-90 dramatic victory to keep their hopes of moving on to the NBA Finals alive.

“We just had to play,” George said. ”Our backs were against the wall and we had to just come out and play.”

James only managed to play 23 minutes and was held under ten points for the first time in the playoffs this year. James struggled to find a way to get into rhythm offensively, shooting a dismal 20–percent and scored just seven points, a career playoff low.

“Nobody can stop or slow down LeBron; he got out of rhythm because of foul trouble,” Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel said.

In a bizarre sequence at the end of the game, Shane Battier was called for a foul after dragging George to the ground on an inbound play with 15 seconds left. Indiana was awarded one free throw as well as possession. George missed the free throw but David West was fouled on the following inbound and stretched the Pacer lead to 92-90 with 12.8 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the Heat, Chris Bosh was unable to make a contested three pointer and the Pacers extended their season, forcing a game six in Miami.

With their season on the line, George did everything in his power to carry the Pacers to victory. George scored a game-high 37 points, 21 of which came in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. With 47 seconds remaining, George gathered himself and knocked down a three pointer to give Indiana a 91-87 lead, bringing the Bankers Life Fieldhouse crowd to a frenzy.

“I just felt the rhythm, I had to be aggressive and look to shoot and look to score,” George said.

Relief did not come for James in the second half either.  On a loose ball, James fouled Lance Stephenson, picking up his fifth foul with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. With “King James” limited to cheering on his teammates, the Pacers lunged out to a 64-57 lead after outscoring the Heat by 16 in the third quarter.

Proving that his supremacy over other guards was still intact, Dwyane Wade carried Miami, specifically when James was on the bench with foul trouble. Wade diced his way through the interior of Indiana’s defense and also set up his teammates for open looks when the defense was focused on him. Wade finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in the losing effort.

With Chris Andersen still out with a thigh contusion, Rashard Lewis was placed in the starting lineup for the second straight game. After missing all five of his shots in game four, Lewis bounced back to add 18 much needed points with the absence of James. Lewis, who connected on six three pointers, made his most significant shot of the season when he drained a corner three with 16 seconds left to cut the Pacers lead 91-90.

“They always have somebody out there that can shoot the basketball…he made some contested ones, he made some open ones, you have to give him credit,” Vogel said about Lewis.

Coming off of a series-high 25 points in game four, Chris Bosh continued to ride his hot streak. Bosh, who told reporters asking about his upcoming free agency before the game that he’s “definitely coming back to Miami,” scored 20 points and utilized his versatility to drift out and knock down mid-range jumpers.

As the case always seems to be in pressure situations, Ray Allen provided 15 points off of the Miami bench. At 38 years old, it is remarkable that Allen continues to be a pivotal part of the Heat’s success, but it was not enough to overcome the Pacers.

“Regardless of what happened we still had enough opportunities to come away with a win, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Finding a way to take advantage of Miami’s smaller lineup, Roy Hibbert, who was held scoreless in game four, scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Hibbert’s effectiveness to post up the smaller Bosh and extend possessions with offensive rebounds helped to propel the Pacers.

In game four, Miami was able to get to the free throw line a remarkable 34 times, but were limited to just eight in game five. The Heat settled for long jump shots and the ball movement was not as significant as it normally is with James orchestrating the offense.  Look for the Heat to review tape and make the necessary adjustments to put themselves in a position to win game six.

“We will collect ourselves and get ourselves ready for another great opportunity in front of our fans,” Spoelstra said.

With a 3-2 lead, the series returns to Miami for a much anticipated game six Friday.

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