Saturday, May 24 at 8:30 PM ET at American Airlines Arena
Game Preview: Pacers at Heat, Game 3
Scott Agness | May 21, 2014 | Updated May 24, 2014 at 1:22 PM
The Miami Heat came into Indianapolis for their first pair of Eastern Conference Finals games and were able to leave with a split. Now, the Pacers will try to at least match that as they head down to Miami for Games 3 and 4.
Three days between games turned into a blessing for the Pacers as star Paul George was diagnosed with a concussion Wednesday morning. As he dove for the ball midway through the fourth quarter of Game 2, George took a knee from Dwyane Wade to the back of his head and then hit his forehead on the floor.
On Friday, it was announced that he has been cleared to return to normal basketball activity after the Pacers medical staff consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the NBA’s Director of Concussion Management. George will participate in Saturday’s shootaround and barring any unforeseen complications, he will play in Game 3.
George’s status is critical for the Pacers, as he is responsible for guarding LeBron James for virtually the entire game. James has tallied at least 20 points in 15 straight playoff games.
Related: Paul George Update
If George's time is limited, expect 35 year-old veteran Rasual Butler and Evan Turner to step in, although coach Frank Vogel wouldn’t specifically say who he would play.
Indiana has had to lean on its starters heavily in the series with four of them playing at least 40 minutes in Game 2 (David West’s time was reduced to 34 minutes because of foul trouble). Along with Paul George needing time to recover, having three days rest right now should be an overall positive for the team.
Time off has been good for the Pacers, as is the case with most teams. They are 6-0 this season with at least three days between games, and 22-1 with two days or more.
Previously: George Optimistic for Game 3 Return
Lance Stephenson has been a big factor in the series, to the point where Heat coach Erik Spoelstra moved Norris Cole on Stephenson in the fourth quarter of Game 2 to keep him from penetrating the defense. Roy Hibbert has had to play big minutes (40 per game) and is averaging double-double numbers — very encouraging for the Pacers.
On the other side, Dwyane Wade, who sat out 28 regular-season games as part of Miami's maintenance plan for his knees, has been stellar for the Heat. He is averaging 25 points, has led them in scoring in each of the first two contests, and is shooting almost 65 percent. Stephenson, who spends the most time on him, is well aware and understands that he needs to make things more difficult for Wade.
The Pacers focused on the No. 1 seed for home-court advantage, but with Tuesday's result, Indiana now needs to win on the road. With the series tied at 1-1, they look to go get at least one before returning home next week.
Pacers: Paul George (day-to-day, concussion)
“We’re not even thinking about that. We’re thinking about winning Game 3. That’s our only focus. We know we’re going to have to win at least one game down there.” – Frank Vogel on if they’re going to Miami looking for a split
“Every game is Game 7 at this point. As indicated the other night, anything can happen in a seven-game series that can take guys out for a couple games or a for the end of a game.” – Frank Vogel
“Just going through all the stuff that I need to go through to be cleared, battling through that as well as trying to stay sharp at the same time. ... It’s been a rough two days but I’ve been able to rest a little bit as well.” – Paul George on what the last few days have been like for him
“Obviously we have to shoot the ball better. We have to be almost perfect to beat a team of the Heat’s caliber. We have a few days to prepare. We’ve got to be able to handle their pressure.” – David West
“I know the crowd is going to try to get in our heads. Now, it’s just being mentally sharp, focused and just be prepared to win.” – Lance Stephenson
- Miami and Indiana have alternated wins in each of their last 13 meetings.
- The Heat have won the last four meetings played in their building.
- The Pacers are 5-0 this postseason in games following a loss.
- Miami has sold out its last 200 games, and 86 consecutive playoff games dating back to May, 1999.
May 20: The Pacers led for the majority of the game, but couldn't close it out as the Heat’s two superstars, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, carried them to a 87-83 win Tuesday night in Indianapolis. Those two hand a hand in the final 33 points, and scored 12 and 10, respectively in the final frame. The Pacers led by four midway through the fourth when James went off for nine straight points, part of a 13-2 run, to propel the Heat ahead for good in a game that featured 21 lead changes.
All five Indiana starters scored in double figures for the third straight game – the longest streak of the season. Lance Stephenson was “spectacular,” in the words of Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, and matched his playoff career-high with 25 points. Roy Hibbert had 12 points and 13 rebounds, his first double-double since March 21. Wade finished with 23 and James tallied 22 to lead Miami. The Pacers shot just 40 percent compared to the Heat’s 51-percent clip.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: ESPN – Mike Breen (play-by-play), Jeff Van Gundy (analyst), Mark Jackson (analyst) Doris Burke (analyst)
NOTE: FOX Sports Indiana will air a postgame show immediately following the conclusion of Game 2, hosted by Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, and Brooke Olzendam./>
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)
ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher (play-by-play), Jon Barry (analyst) />