8:55 Another David West jumper for 2. Five minutes in, and this is already a recurring theme.
8:30 Steve Kerr thinks Lance Stephenson has stolen Tony Allen’s “Trick or Treat” monicker. Dammit, he’s right.
7:40 LeBron James blocks, then strips, a Roy Hibbert dunk attempt, then hits his second stab-and-pop J in a row. A move he’s going to have to utilize more with Hibbert looming inside this series (more on this, later).
5:04 Miami’s nightmare: Hibbert gets good post position, misses his hook, and West cleans up.
2:47 Call of the Year? Hibbert goes straight up to challenge a Battier drive, who promptly knees Hibbert in the spot one least wants to be kneed (and not unintentionally). Charge. Flagrant foul. Is it bad that a foul call in a basketball game can warm my heart?
1:23 Psycho T doing Psycho T things; technical foul on Birdman.
End of the first quarter: 22-21 Miami. West and Hibbert have 16 of the Pacers’ 21 points.
8:51 Marv Albert: “West with a hand in his face!”
8:04 Chris Andersen with a swat on DJ Augustin. Birdman Birdman.
4:45 Eric Spoelstra to Miami during a timeout: “This series is a possession series.”
4:21 West again. He’s 8 for 11, and on 2 of those misses, he rebounded and hit the putback.
3:08 Chris Bosh: more fouls (3) than points (2).
It feels like more than half of Miami’s points have come off feeds to the weakside helper’s man (Hibbert’s) from whoever’s getting into the paint. I wonder if the Knicks are watching and taking notes.
0:03 Questionable offensive foul called on Lance, on what would have been an and-1.
Half time: 42-37 Pacers. 13-12 Miami in turnovers.
Missing persons report: Paul George has 2 points. Chris Bosh has 1 rebound.
11:05 Bosh is alive? Jumper cuts lead to one. 42-41 Pacers.
10:07 Wade hits a fade to take the lead, answered by a sweet take and slam by Paul George.
Where do Craig Sager’s suits go after he wears them? He doesn’t re-wear, does he? Can I have them?
8:57 LeBron for 3, followed by a tip-in the next time down the floor. 49-44 Miami, who opens the half on a 12-2 run.
7:57 George answers again, this time with Indy’s first 3 of the night.
6:39 West hits off nice Stephenson feed. Tied at 51. Hibbert and West have 33.
5:45 Bosh hits on the break. Quick, what’s the land speed of a T-Rex?
4:42 Psycho T finshes two Indy offensive boards in a row.
2:20 Steve Kerr: “Augustin is surprisingly strong, Reggie.” After DJ “bowls” LeBron “over.”
11:38 LeBron misses both free throws after a hard foul from Hibbert.
7:30 Two easy buckets for Birdman, who’s 6 for 6. 76-73 Miami.
5:50 Birdman hits on the trail after a sweet swat on Stephenson.
5:35 Paul George answers with banking and-1. Tied at 80.
4:29 Huge play: Hibbert with a massive rejection on Wade, only to see the ball squirt to Norris Cole, who feeds LeBron for 3.
3:01 Norris Cole takes his forearm to West’s groin. Offensive foul.
2:35 A gust of wind sends Wade flying. Foul on the floor.
1:40 Hibbert puts back his own miss. 89-87 Miami.
0:55 West drives in and flips for 2. Tied at 89.
These Hyundai commercials … I never thought Bob Marley could make me so angry.
0:18 With the chance to take a 4-point lead, Ray Allen hits only 1 of 2 from the line. 92-89 Miami.
0:00.7 Paul George hits a deep off-balance 3 on a broken play to tie! 92 all.
Retrospect police say to foul West on the dribble hand-off to give Pacers 2 FTs down by 3 with 2 seconds left.
4:28 West misses both FTs.
3:32 Birdman benefits from a bad call on Hibbert challenge of a sweeping hook. 94 all.
2:28 West misses bunny shot, Wade hits on the break. 96 all.
2:10 Paul George and-1 for LeBron’s fifth foul. Wade has five, too.
0:49 Bosh and-1 on putback ties the game at 99 (his second rebound of the game).
0:33 West’s step-back J rims out.
0:11 Here’s where it gets frustrinteresting: Frank Vogel calls a timeout just to take Hibbert, his defensive anchor and one of the best rim protectors alive, out of the game for his team’s biggest defensive possession of the night. LeBron strolls to the rim for 2. 101-99 Miami.
:02 Hill fumbles the inbound, bodies fly, and Indy ends up with the ball. Paul George puts it up, only to be fouled on the 3 attempt by Wade (who, of all people, can’t believe it). George hits all three, seemingly taking the game.
:00 But again, Vogel calls timeout to sub Hibbert off the floor. How? How?! How after what just happened? On the easiest game-winning drive with 2 seconds left of all time, LeBron catches and angles to the hoop, uncontested for the win at the buzzer.
Three hours of great basketball in the vaults, and we’re left only wanting more. However, in the same game that the Pacers showed they’re more than capable of knocking off the defending champs, their best chance at staking that claim was squandered with the same questionable (and that’s a generous adjective here) coaching call, not once, but twice in less than 20 seconds of game time. Hibbert wasn’t just on the bench, but a timeout was called specifically to take Hibbert out in favor of Sam Young on each occasion. The rationale is a matchup thing, but the Bosh–LeBron frontline is what the Heat start with, and Indy never seemed to have trouble pitting Hibbert against it. How, on the two most important defensive possessions of the game, could taking him out even be an option?