Friday, May 30 at 8:30 PM ET at American Airlines Arena
Game Rewind: Pacers 92, Heat 117, Game 6
Scott Agness | May 30, 2014
After sitting in the locker room at American Airlines Arena following a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals 361 days ago, the Pacers had worked all season to not let that happen again. They retooled the bench while keeping their core intact, and had another year of experience to lean on. They got back to the conference finals against the very same Heat team, and this time they possessed homecourt advantage for another potential Game 7.
But the series wouldn't get that far. The Pacers were thoroughly outplayed in Game 6 down in Miami on Friday night. The Heat, with a 117-92 victory, become just the fourth team in NBA history to make four straight NBA Finals appearances, the first since Larry Bird’s 1984-87 Boston Celtics.
Indiana scored seven straight points and skipped ahead 9-2 to open the game, as Miami missed seven of its first eight shots. However, the two-time defending champs responded with a big statement. They scored the game’s next 11 and outscored the Pacers 22-4 in the rest of the first quarter to open up a double-digit lead. LeBron James, coming off a playoff career-low seven points in a foul-plagued 24 minutes in Game 5, scored 11 in the first 12 minutes.
Miami’s lead ballooned to more than 20 in the second quarter as Indiana’s defense failed to get stops and cool them off. The Heat shot 60 percent in the first half, scored 32 of their 60 points in the paint and doubled the Pacers on the boards, 20-10. By halftime, where they trailed 60-34, and the Pacers had just 11 points from players not named David West or Lance Stephenson.
After totaling just one point before the break, Paul George got going offensively in the second half. He scored 15 in the third quarter and 28 in the second half, but it was all much too late. The Pacers never got the game back to a reasonable margin the rest of the way — the closest they got was 22. This team was at its best when they brought a balanced attack and made it difficult for their opponents defensively, and that wasn’t the case in this one.
The Heat set the tone early and undoubtedly played like a championship-level team on a mission. And thus for the third straight year, it’s the Heat, who’ve won a franchise-best 11 straight postseason games, who put an end to the Pacers’ season.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George led the Pacers with 29 points, all but one coming in the second half, and eight rebounds. David West scored an efficient 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting before fouling out. Lance Stephenson added 11 points – all in the first half.
LeBron James was sensational, scoring 25 points and assisting on six baskets in 32 minutes. Chris Bosh had 25 points and eight rebounds and both Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis contributed 13.
The Pacers were outrebounded by nine and outscored in the paint, 50-32.
Miami have won 12 straight playoff games following a loss and is 10-0 in closing out a series at home in the Big Three era.
The Pacers gave up 100 points for the sixth time this postseason. Indiana lost every one of those games.
“I just want to say that I'm proud of our team for having a heck of a season, winning 56 games, getting ourselves two wins from the NBA Finals, a chance to compete for it all. It's bitterly disappointing to fall short of our goals, and it's bitterly disappointing to lose to this team three years in a row, but we're competing against the Michael Jordan of our era, the Chicago Bulls of our era.” – Frank Vogel
“I think it's about not being able to reach their level, yet. They play at a championship level. They have a way to raise it to the point that it's too much to overcome. We've got to take care of our home court. We had a four-minute stretch in Game 2 that probably cost us the series. But I think it's about falling short of reaching their level.” – Frank Vogel
“…You just have to go into the offseason with the mindset that we're going to reload, and we have a core, a system, a culture that's going to give us a chance every year. We've got to make whatever adjustments we have to make to come back and be here again next year.” – Frank Vogel
“They came out hot, and it was hard to just slow them down and get a stop because they were making everything, it felt like. That's where this game was lost.” – Paul George
“We’ve been up and we’ve been down. We fought hard together to get over some tribulations or whatever but it still hurts to lose. It just feels awful right now.” – Roy Hibbert on the season
“They were more prepared, more seasoned for this moment. They’re able to embrace these moments and get to a level that we for some reason just can’t compete.” – David West
Stat of the Game
Miami shot a blistering 58 percent from the field, the highest percentage this postseason by an Indiana opponent.
- The Heat have won seven games in a row over the Pacers at American Airlines Arena.
- Stephenson was tagged with a Flagrant-1 foul in the second quarter.
- Indy product Greg Oden made his first playoff appearance since Apr. 30, 2009 — his rookie season.
- Evan Turner was the only active player not to see the floor.
- Friday's contest was Miami’s 200th playoff game in club history.