Friday, May 30 at 8:30 PM ET at American Airlines Arena
Game Preview: Pacers at Heat, Game 6
Scott Agness | May 29, 2014 at 4:23 PM
The Pacers earned another business trip to Miami by edging the Heat in Game 5 Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. And while the pressure arguably shifts to the Heat—the last thing they want to do is return to Indianapolis for a decisive Game 7—the Pacers can’t afford any kind of let up.
The Pacers are expecting LeBron James to play at a very high level after having the worst playoff game of his career and was limited to seven points primarily due to foul trouble. One adjustment the Pacers made was matching Lance Stephenson on LeBron for much of his 24 minutes on the floor. That allowed Paul George to roam defensively and save his legs for the offensive end, where he exploded for 21 in the final stanza, the best quarter of his young career.
There’s no denying that Stephenson has rubbed much of the Heat the wrong way, but that’s partially what he’s trying to do. He’s felt that James has been too comfortable throughout the series so he picked him up earlier, took away his airspace and got into him on pick-and-rolls. During critical situations, like the final play in Game 5, George went back on James.
For the Pacers, a Game 6 win keys on “performing like champions,” according to George.
It’s very likely that Indiana will look to involve center Roy Hibbert early on. When he has made a few buckets and is confident on offense, the players and coaches see that spilling over to the defensive end where he’s the big anchor in the middle. After a scoreless night in Miami in Game 4, Hibbert answered by posting his second double-double of the series in Game 5.
In addition to the usual keys of keeping turnovers down, having balanced scoring and guarding the 3-point line (the Heat tied a franchise playoff-high with 15 in Game 5), the Pacers must keep any Heat role player from going off, as Rashard Lewis did for 18 points on Wednesday. He hit 6-of-9 threes after missing his first seven tries in the series. It could just as easily be Ray Allen, Norris Cole, or Shane Battier as well.
Indiana knows it’s not going to be easy. Miami hasn’t lost consecutive playoff games since the 2012 Conference Finals to Boston. For the Pacers, it’s going to take a near-48 minutes of their best basketball to beat the Heat at home and keep their own Finals hopes alive.
Heat: Chris Andersen (day-to-day, left thigh contusion)
“We've been able to win a road game in each playoff series we've been involved in the last two years, and we have a confidence that this series will be the same, that we can go into Game 6 and be able to get a ‘W.’” – Frank Vogel
“I think with somebody like LeBron James, the great scorers in the game, you have to mix your coverages, and you have to mix your matchups. He had a good burst in there, but it's not anything I think is going to hold LeBron down or anything like that. It's just something we've got to continue to mix coverages, mix matchups.” – Frank Vogel
“LeBron's going to be LeBron. He's going to come out and play with a lot of energy. I'm sure he's got a lot built up from not playing much in Game 5. So our hands are going to be full with LeBron. We know that. It's just about challenging him, myself challenging him, and playing at the same level he's playing at.” – Paul George
“It's the same. We've just got to get one win. We get one win, our season keeps going.” – David West on whether their approach changes at all
“Just trying to help my team win, whatever it takes. There's a lot on the line now. Just trying to win games.” – Lance Stephenson
“We're going against history, but we can't feel like it can't be done. Every player in our locker room, every trainer, every coach, everybody in this organization have to feel like we can accomplish this. And we believe. We honestly believe we can accomplish this one.” – Paul George
- The Pacers are 3-0 in elimination games this postseason.
- Chris Andersen has missed the last two games with a thigh contusion.
May 28: The Pacers outscored the Heat by 16 points in the third quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit and extended the series with a 93-90 victory. LeBron James played half the game and was held to a playoff career-low seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Paul George was sensational in the final quarter, scoring 21 of the team’s 29 points. Up two with 12.8 seconds, James drove the lane and was met by Hibbert, so he darted a pass in the corner to Chris Bosh and his 3-point try was long.
George scored a game-high 37 points on 15-of-28 shooting and had seven steals. David West, who teamed up with George for the final 36 points, hit 7-of-11 shots for an efficient 19 points. Bosh had 20 & 10, and Dwyane Wade added 18. The Pacers forced 17 turnovers, leading to 21 points, and scored 20 more points in the paint than the Heat.
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 6, 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) />