His worst nightmare. Once again.
Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James stepped to the free throw line with less than a minute remaining in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. He came up empty.
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With the Pacers leading 76-75 and 54.1 seconds to go, James grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled by Pacers forward Danny Granger. After Granger headed to the bench, having picked up his sixth foul, James took to the charity stripe for two shots, having already scored 28 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, dished out 5 assists and registered 6 steals.
The 2012 NBA MVP's first attempt hit the back rim and swerved off. His second attempt also hit back rim and bounced out. Pacers wing Paul George corralled the rebound and immediately called timeout.
James played 43 minutes on Tuesday night. After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said that fatigue could have been a contributing factor on the misses.
"He'll never make an excuse for that, but I wish I could have gotten him a minute or two [of rest] in the fourth quarter," Spoelstra said. "Because of the hole we dug for ourselves, there was no way to do it."
James, a career 74.6 percent free throw shooter, was 8-for-13 from the line in Game 2.
"Those last two didn't go for me," he said, according to FoxSportsFlorida.com. "The game isn't lost or won with those two free throws but I definitely want to come through for my teammates. But I'll get another opportunity. I know I'll be at line again in that situation."
After Indiana hit two free throws and a potential game-tying three from Heat guard Mario Chalmers missed, the Pacers escaped with a 78-75 win to even the series at one game apiece.
Game 3 is set for Indiana on Thursday.