Heat-Pacers series gets physical as Heat take 3-2 lead

LeBron James had a flashback to his old days in Cleveland as the Heat beat the Pacers 90-79, taking the lead in the series 3-2.

In the first half of the game, Roy Hibbert and Paul George dominated. Hibbert controlled the paint and George took care of outside shooting. The two were the only Pacers to score in the first quarter of the game, with 13 for George and 10 for Hibbert.

As the Heat started paying more attention to this, they tightened up their defense on George, specifically. Around this time, Lance Stephenson entered the game to help out with the ball distribution and scoring. The Pacers also played good defense, causing four early Heat turnovers.

This did not discourage Miami, however. Despite being down, the Heat kept going and slowly but surely chipped away at the Pacers’ lead. Mario Chalmers kept up the pace and energy for the Heat, adding seven points for the Heat in the first quarter.

By the second half, Miami played with a much different intensity, lead by James who scored 16 points in the third quarter alone and finished the game with 30 points. He was able to do this by playing all positions and taking command of the court.

Udonis Haslem also came up big during the game. He stayed in the corner by the bench (his hot spot) and kept scoring during the third quarter, ending on a hot streak with 16 points.

The more the Heat played like a team, the greater the lead became.

Defensively, the Heat also became more active. Their use of double-teaming was effective, causing Indiana to use a timeout at one point during the second half. It seemed that the Pacers began panicking as fouls and turnovers became more prevalent in their playing.

George Hill had to sit down midway through the third quarter after getting his fourth foul. Stephenson also fouled out of the game. Miami capitalized on the Pacers’ weaknesses and produced on most of their possessions.

Despite Indiana’s loss, Hibbert and George played well. Hibbert was able to make contested shots no matter who was guarding him. George added another double-double to his belt (27 points, 11 rebounds). Both played with heart and worked hard to keep the Pacers in the game.

This series has been based on physical play and defense has been a major part of every win in this series for each team. Twice in game five, however, things got too physical.

Early in the second quarter, Chris Andersen pushed Tyler Hansbrough. When Hansbrough got up, they began to exchange words. The interaction ended with Anderson pushing Hansbrough and both getting technical fouls.

Andersen responds with a monster block on Hansbrough during the Pacers’ next possession.

Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and David West all received technical fouls in the third quarter after West and Chalmers allegedly engaged in a stare down and began approaching one another. Haslem came in to break the two up and then started going at it with West also.

The series now travels to Indiana for game six as the Heat try to close out and the Pacers try to push for a game seven at 8:30 ET on Saturday.

Categories: basketball, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, National Basketball Association, NBA, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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