Game Rewind: Pacers 76, Heat 99, Game 7
Monday, June 3rd, 2013 at 8:30 PM EDT at American Airlines Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 76, Heat 99, Game 7
Scott Agness | June 4, 2013
The Pacers knew all season that a trip to the NBA Finals ran through Miami. They not only made it to the Eastern Conference finals without their best player in Danny Granger, but they forced a Game 7 and had the Miami Heat on their heals.
They had the opportunity to shock the world and put an end to the Big Three. Instead, the defending champions played like champions – rising to the challenge with suffocating defense, tenacity on the glass and more effort in a game that required complete focus.
The Pacers had a two-point edge after 12 minutes but it didn’t hold up. The Heat broke the game open in the second quarter and rolled to a 99-76 victory, which clinched their third consecutive finals appearance.
The Heat missed eight of their first 11 shots as they made it a point to get the ball to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the early minutes. The Pacers, who turned the ball over early an often, used a 7-0 spurt to go ahead by six just five minutes in. Following a timeout by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, the Heat scored two put-backs at the rim while the Pacers turned it over on four consecutive possessions. A couple foul shots from Paul George gave the Pacers a 21-19 lead at the end of the first.
Things went terribly wrong in the second quarter. The Heat first used an 11-2 run to open up a double-digit lead as Paul George and Roy Hibbert were seated on the bench. Indiana was beaten at their own game – in the paint, on the glass, and with defensive aggression. They had their hands full and struggled inside as the Heat immediately double-teamed, leading to either a strip or passes that were intercepted. The defending champions outscored the Pacers by 17 in the second for a 52-37 halftime lead. At this point, the Pacers had more turnovers (15) than field goals (13), were outrebounded by four and had allowed 10 more points in the paint – all key factors in what Pacers coach Frank Vogel calls “winning basketball.”
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More than anything, the Pacers needed to raise their effort and at least match the Heat’s intensity level. During a timeout, Vogel stressed to his team to focus on winning the quarter and cut the lead to single digits. They failed in that department. The Pacers came as close as 12 five times but the Heat swelled their advantage to 21 by quarter’s end. A real indicator was on the offensive glass, where Dwyane Wade, who finally showed up in a game this series, had one more offensive board (6) than the entire Pacers team.
The Heat never let up and kept adding to their lead, as many as 28 in the final period. George fouled out with 7:43 left in the game, and had a special moment with coach Vogel as he came to the bench. Every active Pacer saw time as the season came to an end after 100 games. In franchise history, the Pacers are now 0-4 in Game 7s of the Eastern Conference Finals.
It was a tremendous and memorable season for the Pacers, highlighted by the growth of everyone – from coaches on down. The country had their introduction to the Pacers, who have a young core and a bright future ahead of them.
Inside the Numbers
Roy Hibbert scored 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Pacers in both departments for the third and fourth time in this series, respectively. David West had 14 points and six rebounds, but also a team-high six turnovers. George Hill tallied 13. With 10 points, six rebounds, a team-high five assists, two steals and two turnovers, Lance Stephenson may have had the best night for a Pacers player, statistically.
Four-time MVP LeBron James scored 15 of his 32 points at the foul line. Dwyane Wade had his best outburst in 12 games, scoring 21 points and grabbing nine rebounds – more than anyone in the game. Ray Allen scored 10 points off the bench.
Chris Andersen’s tip didn’t drop at the end of the first quarter, ending his streak of a perfect streak. He had gone15-of-15 from the field in the series and converted 18 attempts in a row going back to the semifinals.
Indiana turned the ball over 21 times to Miami’s 12.
The Heat, who were much more aggressive, attempted 18 more foul shots and outscored the Pacers by 19 at the line.
The Heat are 17-3 following a loss this season. They haven’t loss back-to-back games since Jan. 8 and 10.
"What I told them is to keep their heads extremely high. We've accomplished a great deal. No one in the world gave us a chance to get this far. Danny Granger goes out the day before the season starts. We lose him basically for the full year. We start 3-6. We have early struggles and we overcome an awful lost to grab the nation’s attention.” – Frank Vogel
“Everybody in this country knows who the Indiana Pacers are now and we represent all the right things: class, character, hard work, old-school basketball, playing the game the right way. We represented our franchise, our city and our state extremely, extremely well and we have a lot to be proud of.” – Frank Vogel
“They taught us a lesson. This team has been there before. They have been to the championship. They've won it all. And they know how to ratchet up their defense at a level that just imposes their will on a basketball game. Our guys didn't handle it well in the first quarter. First half, really, all together. And we knew that 15 turnovers in a half ‑‑ in a game was probably going to equal a loss tonight. So to do it in a half was dispiriting.” – Frank Vogel on Miami’s intensity “Those guys have been battle‑tested. Unfortunately we lost, but they've been through it before, and I think all their guys were making the right plays and making game‑winning plays, because they've been through it before. So hopefully we can learn from this.” – Roy Hibbert
“This is my group. These are my guys. I can't see myself going anywhere else." – David West on his impending free agency
“We just did a heck of a job this year. We battled against the odds and continued to battle against the odds and came up on top I think. We lost tonight. I think that the city understood how hard we fought this year and they had something to cheer about. They have something that they can back up now. It is a locker room full of great guys. For the young kids and the little ones in the community, they have role models to look up to. The great thing is we are a young team. We are past the rebuilding stage. We are in the stage of shaping up to be a championship team.” – Paul George
“It is amazing. Some of the greatest teammates I had. I learned a lot from this team and we’ve done a great job of staying together all year long. Coach always writes ‘togetherness’ on the board. It just shows how well-together this team in this locker room is. I’m just proud of them.” – George Hill on the journey
Stat of the Game
To win the game, the Pacers had to win the rebounding battle. It was even on the defensive glass, but the Heat pulled down seven more boards on the offensive end (15), which led to 22 second chance points.
- Indiana’s overall record this season was 60-40. They were 5-5 vs. the Heat this season, including a 2-1 advantage in the regular season.
- Jeff Pendergraph and Norris Cole were both ejected with 2:17 remaining.
- Noteables in the crowd: Pacers owner Herb Simon, George Hill’s college coach Ron Hunter, Mike Epps, David Beckham, Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Justin Bieber, Flo Rida.
- The Pacers wore their gold alternate uniforms for the sixth time in the playoffs (3-3).
With the Pacers’ season over, every player will go through an exit interview and clean out their lockers. Team officials will focus on the NBA Draft, which takes place on June 27th and the team holds the 23rd and 53rd pick. The other major focus for the front office will be free agency where David West, Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Pendergraph and D.J. Augustin all become free agents. Associate head coach Brian Shaw is expected to interview for multiple head coaching jobs.