Pacers control proceedings and benefit from shared scoring.
The NBA Conference finals are underway and the Indiana Pacers were able to secure victory in Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Sunday.
The top seeded Pacers took on the two-time defending champions in a real heavyweight clash in Indianapolis, but it was the hosts who came out on top with a real team effort.
Paul George finished with 24 points and seven assists, David West added 19 points and seven rebounds while the likes of Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson were also influential in the win.
Despite dropping the last two series openers this post-season, the Pacers relished the opportunity of going up against Miami and dominated inside while also finding their rhythm from distance as they maintained a high scoring percentage throughout.
All five starters and C.J. Watson scored in double figures which allowed the hosts to put up their highest point total of the playoffs thus far, while their defensive intensity was also there as Miami went 6-of-23 shooting from beyond the arc.
In addition, Miami’s failure to get to the free throw line was a significant difference as they fell behind from the start and were never really able to recover.
In contrast, Indiana shared the ball, limited their turnovers, maintained their temperament and got contributions from everyone to silence the Heat and keep them under wraps.
James insisted that his team need to evaluate their mistakes and come back stronger in Game 2, as a two-game deficit would undoubtedly put the defending champions under pressure heading back to Miami.
However, they may well have their work cut out with the Pacers seemingly putting their troubles behind them and saving their best for their Eastern Conference rivals.
Miami Heat 96-107 Indiana Pacers