Indianapolis, IN - The Indiana Pacers were able to handle business on their home floor last night, defeating the Miami Heat by a final score of 93-90 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. There weren’t many analysts out there that thought the Pacers had what it would take to get the win and avoid elimination, but thanks to Paul George and a crazy Bankers Life Fieldhouse, they were able to force a Game 6 in Miami. Game 6 will be on Friday night at 8:30 PM.
Things started out fast for the Pacers last night, as they led the Heat 22-16 at the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately for Indiana, their offense would take a major lull in the second quarter, being outscored 26-11 in the period. Indiana was able to respond in the third quarter with a 31-16 advantage, with the Heat taking the fourth quarter by a 33-29 count. It was an extremely dramatic game down the stretch of the fourth quarter, with the Heat trying to close out the series and George refusing to allow his Pacers to be eliminated.
George put up a huge game for the Pacers, scoring 37 points on 15-28 shooting, including 5-14 from behind the three-point arc. There is no doubt that he took too many threes in the game, but they were the only reason that the Pacers will be playing once again on Friday night. David West had another good game with 19 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 7-11 from the floor. Roy Hibbert put together a fairly quiet double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, which were all big on the night. Lance Stephenson was the only other double digit scorer for Indiana with 12 points, while also being a pest to LeBron James.
Chris Bosh had his jumper working for him once again, scoring 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Both Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis scored 18 points on the night, with Lewis shooting 6-9 from behind the three-point line. That being said, the Pacers were able to shut James down, allowing him to score just seven points on the night to go along with five fouls. Ray Allen was the only other double figure scorer for the Heat with 15 points off the bench.
Overall, this was a huge win for the Pacers and hopefully will get them rolling again. This team has shown the ability to play at a high level with their backs against the wall this postseason, and they will have to do it once again in Game 6 on Friday night. It will be very interesting to see which Pacers team shows up, and if they can force a winner-take-all Game 7 back in Indianapolis on Sunday night.