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Court Vision: Playoff lessons as the Heat even up the series

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

More Game 2: Doyel: LeBron takes over| Wade carries Heat | George struggles

Here's what we learned in the NBA Playoffs on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 as we saw the Miami Heat even up the Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers at 1-1.

Miami Heat 87, Indiana Pacers 83 | Series tied at 1-1

• We learned that this Miami Heat team can turn it on when they need to. It wouldn't have been a disaster if the Heat went back to Miami down 0-2, but it certainly wouldn't have been ideal. Grabbing home court advantage away from the Pacers (for now) is a big step in re-establishing they're the team to beat in this series, especially after how the Pacers played in Game 1.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 22 of the Heat's 25 points in the fourth quarter, and 45 of their 87 in the game. The Pacers turned the Heat from a team concept into a two-man show, and yet their offense didn't allow them to stay in front of this one. James really turned it on in the fourth quarter and helped Miami separate themselves just enough to grab the split.

Lance Stephenson was absurd in this game. His energy, attack, and presence just dominated the Heat at times. He was the game's high-scorer at 25 points, and had seven assists and six rebounds to go with it. He had 10 of his 25 points during a big run in the third quarter, but they went away from him in the fourth and Miami tightened up their defense.

• This was an incredibly ugly game. The Pacers led by one after the third quarter, but it felt like both teams were down big. Very sloppy, and I'm not sure you can chalk it up to just two great defensive teams. The defense was good, but the offense was bad. Neither team made more than two-thirds of their free throws either, combining to go 21-of-33 from the line.

Chris Andersen was a monster. Roy Hibbert said last year during the ECF that Birdman was the big difference in playing them then from when they played them in the second round in the 2012 playoffs. His rebounding was huge. His defense was great. And his impact helped Norris Cole's scoring give the Heat a nice boost with their bench.

Paul George and David West combined to shoot 9-of-32 from the field. Pacers got nine points on 13 shots out of their bench. That's just not acceptable.

• Hibbert did a great job on the boards with 13, including eight on the offensive glass. Pacers dominated the offensive boards (16-6), but their terrible shooting (40.0 percent) kept them from capitalizing.

• Game 3 is Saturday at 8:30pm ET on ESPN.

 
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