If Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals is any indicator of what's to come in the series between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, then the NBA-watching public may be subject to a case of basketball overload.
Wednesday night's action had something for everyone. From the sloppiness of the first half, where both teams couldn't hang on to the ball to the lock-down defense of Paul George on the world's best player, to Chris Andersen's huge game out of nowhere, right down to the heroic game-winner from LeBron James -- this game had it all.
It was almost too much for one game. Basketball is a game of adjustments, particularly in a best-of-seven series where each team gains a high level of familiarity with the other. In Game 1, the game itself played like a mini-series of sorts with so much action.
James scored just nine points in the first half before turning in a triple-double. He found his teammates down the stretch but knew when to take over.
The game-winner deserved as much attention from reporters as it received, despite being a simple layup. How did he get such an easy bucket with the Pacers obviously keyed in on him?
"We just pushed on him a little too much, and he was able to beat us off the bounce," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "That's the dilemma they present when they have Chris Bosh at the five spot and his ability to space the floor."
Not unlike any losing coach, Vogel will have plenty to answer for in the coming days. He left his go-to shot-blocker, Roy Hibbert, out of the game in the waning seconds. Did it make a difference?
"He does an amazing job of protecting the rim," said George. "I'm 100 percent sure he would've been there."
Vogel wouldn't argue with that logic, so let the second-guessing begin, starting with the man with the clipboard, who is likely his own worst critic.
"I would say we'll probably have him in next time," the coach added. "The mood is good, it was a terrific basketball game. We know we can play with this basketball team."
James, when asked, was quick to downplay the sequence as a routine play.
"I made a layup," he said. "I've been doing that since I was eight years old. When you practice something over and over and over, it's just second nature to you."
Beginning with the first half, both teams struggled mightily to find any rhythm, and the slow pace seemed to favor the visitor and give Indy a real chance at yanking the opening game from the Heat. Miami turned the ball over a whopping 13 times through the first two frames while Indiana gave it away 12 times.
George appeared to turn the evening into a personal challenge to defend a normally-indefensible player in James. He did an outstanding job on Jamnes, understanding that despite a 30-point, ten-rebound, ten-assist performance, it was important to play every possession through.
"At this point, every possession counts," said George.
As for the expectations of the series being as epic as Game 1, both teams are bracing themselves for a proverbial roller coaster ride.
"We can expect this for seven games," added Wade.
Let's hope so.
(Quotes via NBA Live streaming)