The Indiana Pacers evened their Eastern Conference finals series with the Miami Heat Friday night with a 97-93 victory in Game 2.
Pacers forward/guard Paul George, who scored 22 points and had six assists, credits playing as a team and not relying on one guy for the win.
“Take nothing away from their Big Three, but we’ll take a Big Five any day,” George said, via Pacers.com. “That’s what we have. We have a Big Five. We don’t lean on one guy, it’s a team contribution. That’s how we play the game.”
The Pacers starting five all finished the game in double digits in scoring with 18 total assists, four more than the Heat.
Roy Hibbert led the Pacers in scoring with 29 points, while George Hill had 18.
The Pacers key to Game 2 was defending LeBron James well enough to make him turn the ball over on consecutive possessions with the game on the line.
“I’m nowhere near close,” James said, via ProBasketballTalk.com. “I made two mistakes tonight. That hurt our team. And that hurt more than anything. Let my teammates down. They expect me to make plays down the stretch, and I had the ball with the opportunity to make a couple of plays and I came up short. That burns.
“But the best thing about it is this isn’t college. It’s not one loss and you’re done. I have another opportunity to get better in Game 3, and if I’m put in that position again, to be able to learn from it.”
James finished the night with 36 points, eight rebounds and three assists. But unlike Game 1, he was unable to drive to the hole successfully in the final minute of the game.
Hill was asked if there was any one player in the world more dangerous with the ball in the closing minutes of a game.
“Yeah, it’s only like one person that’s more scarier than that and that’s God,” Hill said. “I’m sure if we’re looking at him in the face, we would be very nervous. I’m sure he can make all the plays that we want people to make.”
“LeBron is a great player,” Hill added. “He’s the MVP for a reason. “He’s one of the best that ever played this game. He’s a big focal point. We know that he’s up there probing the floor and looking at everything. We can’t just focus on him. We have to focus on the people around him, because he’s a great play‑maker. He has our full attention.”
Game 2 was a great road win for the Pacers, but celebrations will have to wait until they win the series.
“There’s just no need to celebrate,” said David West. “We won a game that we prepared for, we played hard and competed. We felt like we put in enough work to win. And we did.”
The Pacers confidence will be sky high heading home, but fully expect James to be better than ever in Game 3.
“We’re a totally different ballclub (than last year),” West said. “We know we haven’t accomplished anything. We have to protect our home court. We’re just looking to be ourselves.”