George, Pacers beat James, Heat in Game 2
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — Indiana Pacers forward Paul George may no longer be an emerging star. He might just be a star right now. Did you see that powerful one-handed dunk at the end of the third quarter?
And don’t forget the big man. Roy Hibbert is bringing back the NBA center position for these playoffs.
George had 22 points and six assists and Hibbert added 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Pacers defeated the Miami Heat 97-93 on Friday and tied the Eastern Conference finals at 1-1.
“Again, we have a great deal of confidence that we can beat this basketball team” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before Game 2.
The Pacers maintained the confidence even after a crushing Game 1 overtime loss and now go home for the next two games of what is shaping up as an excellent, competitive, down-to-the-final minute series.
Game 3 is Sunday in Indianapolis (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT).
The Pacers overcame an amazing performance from Heat MVP LeBron James, who had 36 points, including 21 in the second half, and eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
But he had two costly turnovers in the final minute of the game. He threw the ball away with 42.9 seconds left and the Pacers up 95-93, costing Miami a chance to tie, and he threw the ball away again with 8.3 seconds left.
A problem for Miami in Game 1 continued into the first quarter of Game 2: turnovers. Miami had 20 in Game 1 and six in the first quarter of Game 2.
“There was a lack of concentration and a lack of fundamentals,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said prior to Game 2. “We’ve only turned the ball over like that six times this season, and our results weren’t good. If we want to keep on burning our hand, we’ll throw the ball over the place without showing real concentration.”
Indiana scored eight points off Heat turnovers, made 11 of 18 shots and took a 28-22 lead into the second quarter.
Miami also struggled with Indiana’s big men on both ends — Hibbert had 10 points and forward David West six in the first … [For more on Paul George, Pacers beat LeBron James, Heat in Game 2, click here.]