If Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was any indication, fans are in for a tremendous series.
Paul George’s late-game heroics weren’t enough to stave off LeBron James and the Miami Heat, losing in overtime, 103-102.
The Pacers controlled much of the early action in the contest, escaping the first quarter having allowed just 22 points to the potent Heat offense. They held the Heat to only 15 points in the second quarter and carried a 42-37 lead and momentum into the locker room.
Miami wouldn’t allow Indiana to run away with the game, though. James tallied five points in a 12-2 Heat run to begin the second half. But the Pacers went on a 7-0 run of their own later in the quarter to regain the lead and carry a 65-64 advantage into the final frame.
The first three quarters didn’t lack for excitement, but they didn’t match the intensity of the final 12 minutes. With key contributions from James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Andersen, the Heat paced the action and appeared headed for a Game 1 victory.
George had other ideas, though.
With 0.7 second left, the forward shouldered the pressure and pulled the trigger on a long-range bomb to tie the game at 92-92 and send it to overtime.
But what could have been the defining moment in the game turned out to be just another speed bump in Miami’s pursuit of a victory.
George seemingly sealed the victory in overtime with three clutch free throws in the waning seconds of the period, but James wouldn’t let his massive effort go to waste.
With a one-point deficit and time expiring, James drove past Indiana’s clutch performer and dropped in a game-winning layup as the clock hit triple zero, securing the Game 1 victory for his team. In a game that saw James score 30 points and tally 10 rebounds and 10 assists, it was his final two points that defined the victory.