Indianapolis, IN - The Indiana Pacers came into this afternoon being the underdogs to the Miami Heat, and they came away from the game as a much more respected basketball team. Indiana came out as the aggressor and never looked back on their way to a 107-96 win in Game 1. This has been the most highly anticipated playoff series all season long, and Pacers fans were not disappointed.
There were quite a few different storylines to this game, but perhaps the most unexpected was the foul line differential. The Heat were unable to play without fouling, while the Pacers were able to stay away from putting Miami on the line. Indiana shot 29-37 from the foul line, while the Heat were just 10-15.
Paul George once again lead the way for the Pacers, scoring 24 points on 7-13 shooting, and also made 3-6 from behind the three-point arc. He also chipped in with seven assists for the Pacers, and showed great poise when double teams came to defend him. David West stepped up in a big way again with 19 points, including some big buckets down the stretch. Roy Hibbert scored 17 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Lance Stephenson scored 17 points to go along with eight assists. George Hill and C.J. Watson were the other double figure scorers for the Pacers with 15 and 11 respectively.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat in scoring with 27 points on 12-18 shooting, and didn’t show any of the injured knee that Stephenson was expecting. LeBron James also came through with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but he wasn’t able to carry his team down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Chris Andersen and Ray Allen were the only other double digit scorers with 14 and 12 off the bench.
Overall, this was a big win for the Pacers, but they can’t allow themselves to let this game be more than it is. The Pacers are happy to have a 1-0 series lead, but they still have to win three more games out of their next six. Miami will came out with a renewed energy in Game 2, and the Pacers will have to match it and find a way to take care of their home floor.