Miami Heat (19-6) 97
Indiana Pacers (20-5) 94
That title is the best way I can think to put this loss for the Indiana Pacers. The team had a lead of 15 points at one point in the game, but I never felt comfortable with it. I felt like you needed a lead of 20 or more to get somewhat comfortable. Lebron James was going to get his team back into this game no matter what, and he was able to do that.
It took a couple of big shots from other guys to get the tie and the lead, but this was a game you know Lebron James wanted to win without stating it upfront. I don’t even mind if he would come out and say that because that’s what I like about things in the NBA. Show a little animosity like we saw tonight. It’s fine to be intense against a team that you just don’t like. This game was like a playoff game, and you can even find tweets stating that the Pacers and Heat should just play a best of series the rest of the season.
I'd still like this to be a best-of-thirty-seven series.
— Derek Schultz (@Schultz1260) December 19, 2013
These two teams are the toast of the Eastern Conference and tonight showed it as the top two players in the Conference battled it out. Lebron James and Paul George just about cancelled each other out as James went for 24 and George got his own 25 points. George couldn’t get the three to tie it at the end of this game, even though it probably should not have got to that point. One of my keys to victory was George hitting for more than 20, but that still wasn’t enough.
It did look like his shot was there for the most part as he went 8-16 from the field. A much better percentage than the past couple of games. The three turnovers are still a concern for George’s game as he’s not always confident with his passing. Plus, he was chirping at the refs a lot more than I would like to see. But that’s the story of NBA guys anymore.
Lebron James held his own and got a good effort from his counterpart in Dwayne Wade, who just always seems to bring it when he plays the Pacers. Wade goes for 32 points, which is one of those quiet nights because I had to look up his point total to see what he got. You can’t forget the other “big three” in Chris Bosh, who ends up hitting a three to tie the game. Ray Allen hits another three to give the Heat the lead and the eventual win.
Roy Hibbert was negated by foul trouble as he was able to put up a great game last time these teams met. Tonight, he was only able to get 6 points in 23 minutes of action. Ian Mahinmi filled in solid for Hibbert, but he’s not the player Hibbert is. The Pacers are just a different team out on the floor without Hibbert, and if he’s not in foul trouble, the Pacers can use him much better.
But the writing is on the wall, now the Pacers have to bounce back come Friday to get this week back on the right track. Two straight losses hurt this team a bit, especially with the circumstances surrounding them. Now they’ll play a tough Houston team that’s already beat them in the preseason. Hopefully, it won’t be a third straight loss for the team and doubts will creep into the psyche as to what this team can do.