The Indiana Pacers, showing the poise and determination Miami was supposed to have, routed the cold shooting Heat 94-75 on Thursday to take a surprising 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series.
Out West, the San Antonio Spurs continued their dominant ways, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 105-88 for a 2-0 series lead. The Spurs, who have now won 16 consecutive games, were led by Tony Parker who scored 22 points on his 30th birthday.
Indiana was expected to be no challenge for Miami in the series, but suddenly it is the Heat who must regroup after being outscored 51-32 in the second half for a second consecutive loss.
“The game was won once again with defense and rebounding, and that’s (what) this team’s identity is about,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel told reporters.
Big man Roy Hibbert played the meatiest role, muscling his way to 19 points and 18 rebounds against a Heat team again missing injured forward Chris Bosh.
“His favorite saying is ‘send them to Big Dog,'” Pacers guard George Hill said of Hibbert. “When we’re in trouble, he’s our bail-out.”
Hill helped out with 20 points and forward Danny Granger collected 17 as the Pacers head into Sunday’s Game Four in Indianapolis with the upper hand.
Miami tried to shake up its lineup, but it had little effect.
“It was a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
Regular Mario Chalmers scored 25 while the NBA’s most valuable player LeBron James had 22. Read more Source
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