Nightly Grades 5.28.13: Pacers make all the big shots, LeBron fouls out
The Pacers tie the Eastern Conference finals 2-2 after a thrilling win vs. the Heat on Tuesday night behind strong performances from Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson.
The phrase "made the big shots" seems hugely relevant here. Each time the Heat made a run, the Pacers would make a huge play. Candidates include Lance Stephenson's buzzer-beating three, Roy Hibbert's swirling offensive put-back late in the game, George Hill's diving and-one,and HIbbert's other put-back.
The Pacers won 99-92 with an offensive game again, which isn't their M.O. They've been surprisingly good offensively in the playoffs and in this series, and it has kept them alive. Up against the wall, they responded with just enough offense inside through smart ball movement and hustle basketball to make the difference.
Hibbert 23 points, Stephenson 20 points, Hill 19 points. If they can get that kind of contribution offensively from that trio, the Pacers are going to have a chance to steal this thing.
The Pacers pulled themselves off the ledge and have made this a three-game series. We'll see if they have more muscle magic left in their bag of tricks.
Not nearly enough. The Heat shot 39 percent and couldn't get the stops they needed. The Heat gave up 50 points in the paint. The Heat could never sustain runs to maintain the momentum necessary to build a lead.
The Heat are going back to Miami 2-2.
Miami never controlled this pace, never took the momentum and weren't locked in enough on either end. This series is a game of inches, and the Heat couldn't get a foothold on the game.
LeBron fouled out but was also just 8-of-18. Dwyane Wade 5-of-15 and Chris Bosh 1-of-6. That they were even in this game is a miracle and a testament to their role players and execution. Was it an outlier or a great defensive performance? The Heat had an amazing Game 3 and a terrible Game 4. We might not have seen the real Heat in this series yet.
The Triad struggled that badly... and the Heat badly lost. Should Miami really feel bad about this loss?
If I had a grade below F- I would give it. Forget the LeBron foul-out; that wasn't a bad call. It's not a great call in that situation, given the number of far more egregious illegal screens we've seen, but sure, it was probably a good call on some level.
I can't say the officials failed to keep control of this game because that would imply they ever had it. It's not that things got too chippy, but nothing made sense. Their points of emphasis were off. Their interpretations were incorrect. They fell for flops. They ignored obvious fouls. They couldn't keep the floor or corral the contact.
It was a disaster. Let's forget this game ever happened from an officiating standpoint.
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