Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Indiana Pacers forward David West battles for the ball with Miami Heat forward LeBron James during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals in Indianapolis, Saturday, June 1, 2013. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
NBA: Pacers even up series with 91-77 win over Heat
First Published Jun 01 2013 10:34 pm • Last Updated Jun 03 2013 08:09 pm

Indianapolis • Indiana staggered Miami with one more big punch Saturday night.

Now the Pacers have a fighting chance to pull off a stunning playoff upset.

At a glance

Game 7

Indiana at Miami

Monday, 6:30 p.m.

TV » TNT

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Roy Hibbert did everything but pull out the boxing gloves in Game 6, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and continually contesting Miami’s shots to help Indiana stave off elimination with an emphatic 91-77 victory over the defending champs.

Paul George scored 28 points, had eight rebounds and five assists, and the Pacers held Miami to 36.1 percent shooting as they booked a trip back to Miami for Game 7 on Monday night.

"Myself and David [West], we throw ourselves in the fray, in the paint. We like to muck it up," Hibbert said. "Paul and myself, we wanted to make sure we got this for him as well. We didn’t want this to be our last game."

It wasn’t.

Instead, after winning their first division crown since 2004, the Pacers are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals for only the second time in franchise history. They lost to the Lakers 4-2 in 2000. They haven’t played a decisive seventh game in the conference finals since losing to Chicago in 1998.

And amazingly, they’ve done it this time against the defending champions who many considered virtually invincible after winning 27 straight during the regular season, finishing with a franchise-record 66 wins and having won 23 of their last 24 road games before losing Games 4 and 6 in Indianapolis.

But the Pacers have pushed four-time MVP LeBron James and his high-scoring, high-profile teammates to the brink of elimination by punching back, and Game 6 followed a familiar story line. The Pacers had a 53-33 rebounding advantage, outscored Miami 44-22 in the paint and limited Miami’s shooters to 16 of 54, 29.6 percent, from inside the arc.

James led the Heat with 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Nobody else scored more than 10.


story continues below
story continues below

How have the Pacers done it? With Hibbert controlling the inside after adding MMA training to his offseason regiment.

"Roy Hibbert is making extraordinary plays in the pocket, poise in the pocket we call it," coach Frank Vogel said. "He’s getting paint catches and just having great poise, great reads. He’s not plowing over guys. He had a charge in Game 5, but has been under control."

It was everything an elimination game should be. The teams traded baskets and jabs, sometimes literally, and players ignored the bumps and bruises of yet another wrestling match that has made this tough-guy series compelling.

Both teams attacked the basket, sometimes with problematic results. Indiana missed about five dunk attempts in the first half and a series of short jumpers, too, costing them precious points.

The Heat struggled, meanwhile, starting the game just 3 of 22 from inside the 3-point line. Miami’s Big Three — James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — went just 14 of 40. Excluding James, Miami managed only 16 baskets — eight 3s and eight 2s.

With Chris "Birdman" Andersen suspended for the game because of a shoving incident with Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough on Thursday, the Heat couldn’t keep up with Indiana’s big rebounders inside. Even Lance Stephenson, who was not effective at Miami, finished with four points, 12 rebounds and four assists.

Indiana’s loud crowd created a hostile atmosphere, too. Fans chanted "Heat Are Floppers!" sporadically throughout the second half, urging the Pacers to play harder, to defend better and to make another trip home. The only way to do that is to win Game 7 and avoid a second straight playoff elimination at the hands of the Heat.

For Miami, the stakes were so high that when James was called for an offensive foul midway through the fourth quarter, he lost his cool. James protested by running from one end of the court to the other, drawing a technical foul, and when Miami assistant coach David Fizdale showed his support for the league’s four-time MVP, it drew another technical.

George Hill answered by making free throws and Hibbert followed that with a layup, ending any chance of Miami making a late comeback.

James said he was trying to avoid an ejection and would up spending the last 66 seconds sitting a few seats down from the Heat bench cheering on his teammates.

"Explain it? You seen it. It was total domination by the Pacers in the third," James said when asked what happened to the league’s most dominant team on Saturday. "They made a lot of shots, we didn’t get too many stops and we missed some very, very easy shots."

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.