Nightly Grades: Pacers respond in Game 2
Grading the performances of the Heat and Pacers in Friday night's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
This is only the fifth time in the last 51 games that the Miami Heat have lost a game. Two of those have come at the hands of the Pacers, and considering how Game 1 went, they almost pulled off back-to-back wins over the defending champs.
The Pacers are a tough bunch. They're able to expose a vulnerability of the Heat and can beat Miami up on the interior. Paul George is a true star and, behind Roy Hibbert and David West, the Pacers can grind possessions and find enough points to survive the crunch-time savants who are the Heat.
In Game 2, it was some stingy, crunch-time defense. The Pacers came up with stops and made a few more plays to win 97-93. We've got a series. And the Heat might be in trouble.
The Heat can look at this game and really feel they gave one away. But, at the same time, the Pacers feel the same about Game 1. So a split in Miami feels about right.
The Heat, though, could be in a little trouble. The Pacers have a game plan that's very effective and a matchup that's causing problems. The Heat still have LeBron. And while his two crunch-time turnovers in Game 2 were unseemly, we're all past the point of questioning him. He didn't finish, which is rare, and the Pacers got a big-time win.
The Heat have to figure out a few things. Erik Spoelstra clearly can't figure out what to do with his bigs, and the Pacers are exposing and working him out of any smallball. Frank Vogel might've messed up in Game 1, but he has Spoelstra's head spinning a bit right now.
Game 2's officiating crew wanted to make its presence known. Specifically Scott Foster, who went a little tech happy in the first half, calling an iffy one on Sam Young and then an angry one on associate head coach Brian Shaw right after.
Then there was the eight-second-count debacle in the third quarter, when the crew had trouble counting and nearly cost the Pacers a possession and robbed us of George's nasty dunk.
There were 50 fouls called and a whole bunch of free-throws shot. You've got to call 'em when they're there, but the flow of the game in the first half was really choppy. And lay off the techs, will ya?
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