Vogel pleased with Game 1 effort but says his team must play better.
Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel admitted in his post-game reaction that he was pleased with his team’s effort in Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, but realises they must play better.
The Pacers fell to a 103-102 defeat after a game-winning lay-up in overtime from LeBron James ensured Miami took a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
However, with Paul George draining a three in regulation to force the additional minutes before hitting three free throws to give his team the lead with just 2.2 seconds remaining, Indiana know they are capable of defeating the defending champions in Game 2 on Friday.
Vogel was criticised for his decision not to have Roy Hibbert on the court for the last play, but explained that he felt that would have given Chris Bosh the chance to be the game-winning hero.
Nevertheless, looking back he admitted he possibly should have done things differently, but was keen to stress that the Pacers “have got to play better” and congratulated both teams on a great game.
“Two great teams just throwing punch for punch. Our spirit is very high, very confident. We know we can play with this basketball team,” he told reporters.
Elsewhere, George was equally as disappointed with the outcome despite ending the game with 27 points, four rebounds and five assists. However, he allowed James the chance to drive to the basket almost uncontested to drop in the game-winning lay-up.
The All-Star was instrumental in forcing the game into that situation, but admitted that he was distracted by Ray Allen in the final possession, which arguably gave James the space and opportunity to make his move towards the basket and as he described it, he “slipped up”.
Indiana will undoubtedly take confidence from this performance despite the disappointing outcome. Having done remarkably well to put themselves in a position to win the game, they will be kicking themselves for not making it pay off.
Nevertheless, they return to the AA Arena on Friday night knowing they are capable of defeating the defending champions on their own court, and will hope to square the series ahead of the switch to Indiana for Game 3 next week.