Playoff Assist: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade closed the show
Can LeBron James and Dwyane Wade keep it going? How important is Lance Stephenson? Zach Harper and Erin Sharoni discuss.
When LeBron James and Dwyane Wade became teammates in 2010, it was to make things easier on each other and be able to rally late in games to pull out victories. That's exactly what they did in their Game 2 victory over the Indiana Pacers. In a game in which we only had a final score of 87-83, James and Wade combining for 45 points was a huge chunk of the action. It was in the fourth quarter where they really made their mark on the game too, and they helped close out the game to avoid a tough 0-2 deficit in the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron had 12 points in the final quarter to go along with Wade's 10 points as the Heat scored 25 to erase a one-point deficit heading into the fourth. The clincher for the game was a baseline cut by Wade as James was getting trapped on the same side of the floor. James delivered a beautiful pocket pass to the cutting Wade and the Heat sealed the game with a dunk. This partnership is why they became teammates. It just makes things easier when they play well together.
2. Lance Stephenson was very close to leading the Pacers to a 2-0 lead
The Miami Heat almost weren't that lucky though. The Indiana Pacers had a great chance to close out Game 2 and take the commanding 2-0 series lead. They probably should have kept riding the hot hand of Lance Stephenson as he was a problem for the Heat to defend for the second straight game. He doesn't appear to be nervous about going against Wade or any of the defensive looks the Heat give him. The Pacers' guard was stellar in the way he attacked the basket.
His 25 points were the game-high scoring output, but they didn't go to him enough in the final period. Lance had just three points and three shots in the fourth quarter, after setting the game on fire in the third. The Pacers needed to find more ways to maximize his playmaking ability late in the game as things tighetened up, because nobody else had much success out there. Paul George didn't even take a shot in the final seven minutes of the game.
3. Tim Duncan and friends dominated the paint in Game 1. Can they do it again?
Without Serge Ibaka in the lineup, the painted area was wide-open for the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan led the charge with 21 points in the first half, most of them coming in the paint. The Spurs dropped 40 points in the paint during the first two quarters before finishing with 66 points for the game. The Thunder don't have a shot blocker without Ibaka in there and Ibaka dominated the paint against the Spurs all season long.
Now the Spurs get to roam free inside and rack up high percentage shots without worrying that "Spalding" will be imprinted on their foreheads if it gets sent away.
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