Saturday, May 24 at 8:30 PM ET at American Airlines Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 87, Heat 99, Game 3
Scott Agness | May 24, 2014
The Pacers had success in the early going, leading the entire first half and by as many as 15 points. However, the Heat stayed the course and raised their intensity, particularly on the defensive end, which the Pacers didn’t handle well enough.
Miami, the two-time defending champions, used a 12-3 run to close the third quarter to take the lead for good and hand Indiana its second consecutive loss. 99-87 was the final Saturday night at American Airlines Arena, giving the Heat a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series.
As the Heat struggled through the first eight minutes of the game, the Pacers rolled ahead by 13. That wasn’t enough, however, as the Heat turned it over seven times and scored five points — none coming from The Big Three. The Heat used a 9-2 spurt to end the first and cut their deficit to seven, 21-14.
Lance Stephenson was the lone Indiana starter in to begin the second period, and the Pacers did an admirable job of building on their lead. Luis Scola found his touch, both in the paint and from his sweet spot up top. He scored eight points in the period, double his total through the first two games. A 3-pointer from Rasual Butler, the team’s first (0-for-6 start), grew the lead to 15.
Then, over the final 6:22 of the half and with the starters back on the floor, the Pacers turned the ball over five straight times, mostly off pick-and-roll sets, as the Heat made them uncomfortable. Lance Stephenson, who was doing it all – and sometimes too much as LeBron James guarded him – ended a stretch of eight straight points for the Heat. Again, the Pacers struggled to close a quarter, which was 16-5 in the Heat’s favor.
The Pacers had eight turnovers to their seven field goals in the second, and regrettably carried just a four-point edge into the break. The defense was there, Miami’s 38 first-half points were a season-low, but turnovers built up and took away offensive possessions.
The third period was a busy one, featuring nine lead changes. Foul trouble with George Hill, who was aggressively pushing the tempo, and Paul George forced Indiana to change up its rotations and play much of the quarter without two starters. C.J. Watson and Butler each added a 3-pointer off the bench but the Heat went ahead for good on a trio of free throws from Ray Allen with under three minutes to play. The Pacers gave up three points to Dwyane Wade just as the quarter concluded, which gave the Heat all kinds of confidence and momentum heading into the fourth.
The Pacers cut a double-digit deficit to two on two occasions, the latter on a shot from beyond the arc from Watson. Vintage Allen starred in the final stanza, hitting four 3-pointers to secure the victory for the Heat. The Pacers’ usually stellar defense allowed the Heat to shoot better than 50 percent – 54.4 percent in this one – for the third straight game.
Miami stringing together wins ends a streak of 13 games between these clubs in which the outcome has alternated. Now, it’s on the Pacers to bounce back from this loss. Coach Frank Vogel believes his team has plenty of resiliency left in them to take one in Miami and return home all even at two games each.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George never found a rhythm offensively, going 5-for-13 (and 1-of-6 from downtown), but he finished with a team-high 17 points, 11 scored in the fourth. Roy Hibbert tallied 16 and David West added 13.
With 10 points (just two in the second half) and 11 rebounds, Lance Stephenson recorded his third double-double this postseason. It was his first double-digit rebounding game since Game 7 against Atlanta.
LeBron James (26 points), Dwyane Wade (23) and Ray Allen (16) were efficient in this one. The trio combined for 22 of Miami’s 37 field goals and outscored Indiana in the second half, 47-45.
Indiana turned the ball over 19 times, which resulted in 26 points for Miami.
The Heat scored 15 points in transition and outscored the Pacers in the paint by two.
“We didn't manage our foul trouble well and didn't manage (Miami) picking up their defensive intensity well. I thought we attacked appropriately but didn't finish in plays, and obviously turned it over a little too much and let them get going.” – Frank Vogel
“You can’t play around with this team. I thought we got comfortable at one point in this game, you know, just being up early. This game is all about runs, and ultimately, the team that takes the biggest run or the last run is the team that's going to win.” – Paul George
“I thought we just went away from it. I thought we still did a great job of attacking them the way we attacked them. That's definitely got to be an emphasis to continue on, going inside to our bigs.” – Paul George on the inside game
“We have to do better taking care of the ball and stopping their transition points. Their key guys made important plays and important buckets. This was a tough one.” – Roy Hibbert
“Their guys were getting the shots that they wanted every single time down the floor. We have no ball pressure. Again, they got us on our heels. They’re not doing anything special, they’re just moving the basketball. We’re allowing them to do it and they’re teeing off on us right now.” – David West
Stat of the Game
The Heat shot 56 percent from long range (10-of-18), including four big ones from Ray Allen in the fourth quarter.
- The Heat have won five straight meetings at home. They remain perfect (6-0) at home this postseason and snapped the Pacers’ five-game road win streak.
- A double technical was handed out to C.J. Watson and Norris Cole in the first quarter. Chris Bosh received one in the fourth.
- The winner of Game 3 in seven-game series tied 1-1 has gone on to win 76 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Game 4: Mon., May 26 at Miami – 8:30 p.m. ET