The Indiana Pacers played with a complete sense of urgency on Tuesday night.
They were first to every loose ball, snatched up every rebound in sight, and attacked the basket like their playoff lives depended on it … and they kind of did. The Pacers played an all-out frenetic style of basketball that was too much for the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat to handle.
Roy Hibbert dominated in the paint like he owned it, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds. David West chipped in with a double-double (14 points and 12 boards) of his own. Emerging star Paul George had an off shooting night, but still managed to put up a solid line of 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Lance Stephenson played defense on James like a man possessed, while shooting his way to 20 points on the night, not to mention this fall-away three-pointer at the end of the third quarter, giving the Pacers a seven-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. George Hill got in on the action with 19 points and six dimes, completing the set of all five of the Pacers‘ starting lineup scoring in double figures.
LeBron James led all scorers with 24 points (8-for-18 from the floor; ouch!), but fouled out with just under a minute remaining, forced to watch his Heat fall to the Pacers, 99-92. The Pacers closed out the game on a 16-6 run for a definitive victory.
The Heat are now in a must-win scenario for Thursday’s Game 5, or face coming back to Indy for Game 6 and fight for their playoff lives.