Heat vs Pacers: What to Watch For in Game 3

heat vs pacers

The narratives have diverged quite a bit after Game 2. While much of the talk coming from both clubs seemed eerily similar after Miami’s

“We can’t get too high after this. We have to keep our composure. We still made some mistakes defensively, but we just have to continue to focus, and be prepared for Game 3,” said Pacer power forward David Westbuzzer-beating win in Game 1, what’s being said after Game 2 couldn’t be any more different.

 

“It’s a nice win. It’s good to split but we haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t closed the series out. We won one game. A lot of us feel we should be up 2-0,” said Indiana center Roy Hibbert.

“We need to raise our games,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “We’ll see what we’re made of.”

“Our backs are against the wall. I think that’s what we need,” said Miami’s Chris Bosh.

All that said, the two teams enter their Game 3 match-up in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals with different scripts for their play. The Indiana Pacers have forced the Miami Heat to read from their script so far this series, and it has allowed them to take the home-court advantage away from the #1 seed. Here are three things to watch for from Miami’s perspective, that might very well allow them to flip the script on Indiana.

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Pacers Steal Game 2 from Heat, 97-93

Miami Heat
Paul George scored 22 points in Game 2 for the Indiana Pacers. (Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images)

If Miami made one more “winning” play in Game 1, as LeBron James put it, then Indiana made two in Game 2. In a contest that featured a number of offensive runs by both teams, and some spectacular plays by the stars, it came down to turnovers and defense once again. LeBron James turned the ball over twice in the final minute, having his passes deflected by David West, and the Indiana Pacers were able to steal Game 2, 97-93, and even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

While Paul George may have had the highlight of the night when he flew over Birdman Chris Andersen for a vicious one-handed dunk, Roy Hibbert was the most important player for the Pacers. Hibbert, who was benched at the end of Game 1, dominated the entirety of Game 2, as he scored a playoff career-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Hibbert said after the game. “We haven’t closed the series out. We won one game. A lot of us feel we should be up 2-0.”

“It’s one of the best basketball games I’ve ever been a part of,” Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said after the game. “It wasn’t about LeBron making mistakes down the stretch. He played one of the best basketball games I’ve ever seen anybody play. We were just able to make a couple plays late in the game.”

Fittingly, those plays came on the defensive end for the best defensive team in the league.

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