Not many people gave the Indiana Pacers much of a chance against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, especially in Miami, where the Heat compiled the NBA's best home record this season. When the Pacers came out hot in the first quarter of Game 1, few thought they could sustain it. They were winning at the half, and kept it close all game long. Unfortunately for the Pacers faithful, the Heat took their best shot and still won, 95-86.
The Heat played the second half without Chris Bosh, who left with a lower abdominal injury, but it didn't matter because Joel Anthony. Also, there are these two players named LeBron James and Dwyane Wade who seem to be pretty decent. James was presented with his third MVP award before tip, and answered with a performance that showed exactly why he was the runaway winner. He finished with 32 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and just one turnover. He made made clutch play after clutch play down the stretch, including a game-icing jumper to make it 95-86 with 31.5 seconds left. Wade was also brilliant, and he finished with 29 points and one ridiculous block.
The Pacers came out firing, as previously mentioned, especially Roy Hibbert and David West. But everyone seemingly went cold in the fourth quarter, which, as James could tell you, is the wrong time to do that. Hibbert had 17 points and 11 rebounds, West had 17 and 12, but in the second half, Wade and James outscored the entire Pacers team, 42-38. What's more, Paul George fouled out of the game and Hibbert was in foul trouble pretty much the entire second half, and the entire team seemed to lack aggression after the intermission. It's tough to accuse any team of shying away from the moment, but the Pacers didn't seem ready to steal this one on the road. Game 2 of the series is Tuesday night.