Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 8:30 PM EDT at American Airlines Arena
Game Preview: IND at MIA, Game 7
Scott Agness | June 2, 2013
The Pacers have made their third and final trip of the Eastern Conference Finals down to Miami. And they hope to remain on the road for the next week.
With their series against the defending champion Miami Heat tied at three games apiece, the Pacers will try to beat the Heat on their home floor, where Miami’s only lost six times all season. Should Indiana take care of the keys – limiting turnovers, dominating the paint, managing emotions and containing the Heat’s Big Three – and come away with the victory, the Pacers will be headed to the NBA Finals for the second time in club history.
Monday’s game will be Indiana’s sixth Game 7 all-time, but just the first since 2005 when they beat Boston in the first round. Not one current player was on that team. Danny Granger was drafted that summer.
Since before Game 4, Pacers coach Frank Vogel has written two words on the locker room dry erase board: BE ENOURAGED!!!” Yes, in all capital letters followed by three exclamation points. He writes it because he wants them to understand that “there’s a lot to be encouraged about in terms of this matchup in this series.”
The Pacers are encouraged about their defense, which held Miami in Game 6 to 77 points, tying their season-low, which was also recorded in Indianapolis. They’re encouraged about their frontline, which has dominated the glass and points in the paint in two of their three wins. They’re encouraged about their togetherness. That’s the team’s slogan but it’s not just a slogan – it’s how they go about winning. Together.
The challenge, however, is hard to characterize and hard to anticipate, as they have to beat three of the NBA’s best players. Only this series, it’s been left to the Chosen One, a title LeBron James has imprinted in ink on his back. James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami two offseasons ago desiring to create a dynasty. Injuries and Indiana’s defense have kept Wade and Bosh from having an impact in this series. In Game 6, those two combined for 15 points on 4-of-19 shooting.
Yet while James (28.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists per game), the best player today, is forced to shoulder the load for the Heat, the Pacers have arguably been the better team. They have a starting five that is connected, on the rise, and no worried about who gets his. It’s all about the result.
The Pacers haven’t won consecutive games since Games 3 and 4 against New York in the conference semifinals. In fact, the result has alternated in each of the last nine games. With their season on the line, now is the time to change the tide. They are encouraged and they have belief, but Vogel admits they’ll need to play a near-perfect game to come out on top.
The Pacers are playing into June for the first time since 2004, when the lost to the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals. They’re not ready to be done. They packed for eight days. They want to go straight from Miami to San Antonio for the NBA Finals, which begin on Thursday.
Pacers: David West (probable, upper respiratory infection), Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
“We're looking to go in and get a win and execute to plan. My whole focus is just doing whatever I can do to get these guys to go out and execute the plan at the highest level.” – Frank Vogel
“Our approach right now is not if we lose we're out. Our approach is if we win, we get to The Finals. And that's what we're going for. We're going to give our best shot and try to win the Eastern Conference championship. … We believe we can win the series. We always have. We haven't been perfect this series, but we're going to need to be near perfect to win a Game 7 there.” – Frank Vogel
“It’s going to be tough playing in their house. We just have to play through everything and play as a unit.” – Lance Stephenson on Game 7
“Each and every year there are 30 teams that would love to be a part of this. To have one game to advance to the NBA Finals. And there's two teams that's in this position. And it's something that you can't substitute this feeling. You can't substitute the atmosphere that we're going to be in on Monday night for both teams. We should all cherish this moment.” – LeBron James on Game 7
- Monday's game will be the Pacers’ 100th of the season, not including the preseason.
- The Pacers are 2-3 all-time in Game 7s, with all five games occurring on the road.
- When making half or more of their shots, like they did in Game 6, the Pacers are 5-0 in the playoffs.
June 1: The Pacers used a big third quarter, outscoring the Heat 29-15 to open up a comfortable cushion. After the Heat trimmed it down to as few as four points midway through the fourth, the Pacers scored nine unanswered to secure the 91-77 win, evening the series at 3-3. Paul George recorded a new playoff career-high 28 points; Roy Hibbert had 24 and 11 and George Hill contributed 16. David West played through a temperature about 100 degrees and scored eight of his 11 points in the fourth.
LeBron James scored a game-high 29 but he didn’t get much from the supporting cast. The backcourt of Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade each scored 10. The Pacers won the rebounding battle 53-33 and outscored the Heat in the paint 44-22. Despite 21 turnovers, the Pacers' valiant defense held Miami to 36 percent shooting and 77 points.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings
TV: TNT – Marv Albert (play-by-play), Reggie Miller (analyst), Steve Kerr (analyst), Craig Sager (reporter), David Aldridge (reporter)
Radio: FM 107.5 and AM 1070 The Fan (beginning at 9 PM), Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Michael Grady (host)
Note: The Pacers TV crew of Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, Austin Croshere and Brooke Olzendam will have a 30-minute postgame show on FOX Sports Indiana immediately following the game./>/>
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