Before Sunday night’s Game One of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Miami Heat LeBron James told his teammates that the Indiana Pacers wanted home-court advantage all year and they had better be careful about what they asked for. As the first half went underway, the Heat were playing keep-up with the Pacers.
At the end of the first quarter, the Heat found themselves down six points, and by the end of the first half that Pacers’ lead had grown to 10 points. It wasn’t necessarily a direct result of the Heat’s biggest stars, James and Dwyane Wade, both of whom had 13 points by the break. Their teammates were struggling to find the bottom of the net. Chris Bosh was 2-of-6 in the first half for four points and Mario Chalmers was 1-of-3 for three points. Point guard Norris Cole was 0-of-3 in the first half.’
The Pacers on the other hand were playing well and spreading the ball around. Shooting guard Lance Stephenson had 12 points by the half, while George Hill had 11 points. Forward David West had eight points, point guard C.J. Watson had seven points, and center Roy Hibbert was even a solid contributor with nine points and two rebounds. The Pacers’ star forward Paul George ended the half with just six points.
Coming out of halftime, the Heat were looking to reverse a 10-point deficit to take away home-court advantage from the Pacers.
The third quarter and second half didn’t start any better for the Heat. The Pacers extended their lead to 18 points midway through the third quarter. The Heat were able to fight back a bit and narrow the lead to 13 points by the end of the the third quarter. At that point in the game, all of the Pacers’ starters were in double digits and Hibbert was leading the way with 17 points. George had an explosive third quarter and was second with 16 points while West and Stephenson each had 15.
James kept scoring for the Heat, but Wade flat-lined a bit in the third quarter and had three personal fouls. Chris Anderson though was 4-of-5 shooting heading into the fourth quarter and had 10 points.
The Heat scored four points to start the fourth quarter and narrow the lead to single digits. But after a foul and subsequent flagrant from Mario Chalmers on CJ Watson, the Pacers extended the lead again. The Pacers were able to hold on for the rest of the quarter and game and things never really got close. The Heat ended up losing by eleven points and fall behind a game early in the series.