The two best teams in the Eastern Conference took the stage last night. The Indiana Pacers (First in East) hosted the Miami Heat (Second in East) at Banker's Life Field House, and wanted to end their rough streak in their past few games. The start looked great as the Pacers were able to play their game, and hurt the Heat's weaknesses.
The Pacers were able to slow the game down and feed the post the entire first quarter - Roy Hibbert ended the first quarter with 13 points, and no guard on the Pacers had one point! On the other hand, the Heat were struggling on offense.
The Heat were taking contested shots, and forcing drives. The Heat ended the first quarter with 17 points, 39% shooting from the field, and 0 for 5 from three point land. Lebron and Wade, alone, had 4 turnovers, but had the ball in their hand about 50% of the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, Lebron and Wade a total of 12 points.Chalmers and Bosh were struggling, and were 0-7 from the field. Basically, going into the 2nd quarter, everyone was struggling on the Heat, but Wade and Lebron.
Most of the second quarter was the same, until the 3:39 mark. At the 3:39 mark, the Heat went on a 15-3 run and took the lead at the end of the second quarter. Lebron lead the charge as he had 10 points on the run, and went into halftime with 20 points. Hibbert slowed down in the 2nd quarter, and only had 4 points (compared to 13) in the second quarter.
Then things got testy.
In the third quarter, Roy Hibbert missed a shot, and the Pacers and Heat were diving for the rebound. Mario Chalmers and Lance were wrestling for the ball, and some shoving started. Mario said some words to Lance, Lance retaliated, and then Dwyane Wade got involved.
Wade came in, said some words to Stephenson, and simply shoved him away. Lance and the Pacers did not appreciate the little meeting, and a little incident formed.
The refs gave a double technical on Lance Stephenson and Wade, and the game's intensity had risen. The intensity only grew as Lebron taunted the Pacers crowd with clapping, a mocking smile, and continuously making "and-one" symbols. From that point on, anyone could feel the tension.
Through the beginning of the third quarter, the Pacers forced the Heat to play half court, and the Pacers jumped out to a 54-49 lead. However, at the 6:48 mark, Lebron took over - Again.
Lebron started knocking down shots, and led the Heat on a 18-7 run to end the third quarter. Lebron scored 9 of the 18 on the run, and the Heat made 7 straight field goals! On the other of the court, Hibbert did little as he only scored 2 points in the third quarter, and the Pacer's offense struggled. Overall, the Heat gained the momentum, and the Bankers's Life Field House was silent.
Then the 4th quarter started. And the intensity was multiplied. Starting in the 4th quarter, Lebron got called for a flagrant as he elbowed Roy Hibbert across the face when driving to the basket. From the looks of it, I thought Roy Hibbert had been shot! Later, the Pacers were up by 2 and were gaining momentum.
And then everything changed.
Lance Stephenson took the ball to the basket with 5:01 left in the game, and finished with incredible athleticism at the basket. (Remember: Chalmers and Stephenson had already got into a tangle earlier in the half, and Stephenson and Dwyane Wade had both received technical's) After the shot, Lance started celebrating, and Mario Chalmers did not appreciate the enthusiasm. Chalmers exchanged some words with Stephenson, and Wade joined in. Stephenson, with adrenaline flowing through his blood, looked back at Wade and was clearly taunting him.
The refs called a technical on Stephenson, and he was kicked out of the game. From there, the Pacers lost all momentum. The Heat went on a 8-1 run and Lebron took over. Lebron made a three to tie the game at 76 and taunted the Pacers crowd with clapping and a mocking smile.
After the Heat's 8-1 run, again, the lead changed! This time, the Pacer's went on a 8-0 run and grabbed the lead right back from the Heat! Evan Turner stepped up and got the Pacers the lead with one minute left, and Lebron and Bosh both missed shots to bring the game closer. David West then hit the dagger THREE POINTER and put the Pacers up by 4! NO ONE, and I mean, NO ONE saw that coming.
In the end, by the time Chris Bosh did hit a big shot, but there was only 3 seconds left, and it was too late.
These two teams really hate each other, and this time, the Pacers have the bragging rights.