The 2013 NBA playoffs resumed on Friday as the Indiana Pacers defeated the Miami Heat by a score of 97-93 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series.
With the victory, Indiana ties this series at 1-1.
LeBron James led all scorers with 36 points, while Dwyane Wade added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Chris Bosh scored 17 of his own and Chris Andersen continued his efficient offensive play with seven points off of the bench.
For the winners, it was all about the interior.
Roy Hibbert responded to his late-game benching in Game 1 by scoring a playoff career-high 29 points paired with 10 rebounds. Paul George added 22 points, while George Hill dropped 18 and David West tallied 13 points and seven rebounds.
Lance Stephenson was well-rounded again, tallying 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Both teams started hot, combining for 19 points during the first four minutes of the game. Indiana used a 15-3 run and Hibbert's low-post prowess to jump out to a double-digit lead, but Miami countered to bring the lead down to six points entering the second quarter.
Even still, Indiana had every reason to be confident while holding a 28-22 lead and showing no signs of broken will after a heartbreaking Game 1 loss.
Indiana refused to let up in the second quarter, using 12 made free throws to maintain its lead entering the half. With that being said, Chris Andersen took over offensively and managed to keep the Heat in this one.
Mike Miller drained one heck of a buzzer-beater to end the half and the stage was set for something classic.
These teams didn't disappoint.
The third quarter was all about the Big Three, as Bosh started a furious rally, Wade hit one of his signature circus shots and James was his usual self. The trio accounted for 24 of Miami's 27 third quarter points, outscoring Indiana by themselves.
With Indiana's offense continuing to pound it down low and space the floor with the three-ball, however, the Pacers held on to a 76-74 lead. The key to that lead was one of the most glorious plays of the postseason.
George shot down the Birdman.
Now that's what you call a dunk.
For those upset at what happened on this play, don't be. George took it in cleanly and threw down a dunk of such extraordinary heights that the opposition offered him praise.
Most specifically, the man whom George has been defending—LeBron.
Real recognize real: LeBron finds Paul George after he hits a buzzer-beater 3 to give George props for his huge slam twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 25, 2013
During the fourth quarter, the Pacers and Heat battled down to the wire as neither found a way to pull away. It came down to the final minute, when the Pacers used Hill's defense and Hibbert's presence—believe it or not, he was on the floor during crunch time—to secure the lead.
With Hill making four free throws to close out the game and Hibbert's rotation forcing LeBron into a late turnover, Indiana took Game 2 and evened the series—things just got interesting.
This was yet another display of exceptional resiliency by the Indiana Pacers, as they refuse to back down against the heavily favored Miami Heat. Fortunately for those in need of some competition, the Pacers haven't checked the paper rosters.
They're just leaving it all out on the floor.
The Pacers don't know they're supposed to lose. They wouldn't care even if they did.— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) May 25, 2013
And that's what makes a series great.
Per usual, James was sensational, scoring at will and making pinpoint passes to his teammates. While the numbers keep coming, though, the adjectives to describe his play are running thin.
It's time we simply shut our mouths and enjoy greatness.
It's getting to the point where there just aren't any more superlatives to describe LeBron James. Just sit back and enjoy.— Ben Weixlmann (@BWeixScout) May 25, 2013
All who disagree are given permission to pose some new terms to describe LeBron's greatness.
Nevertheless, for everything that LeBron was able to do, he was consistently countered by Indiana breakout star Paul George. George, who won the 2012-13 Most Improved Player award, had some detractors questioning his legitimacy.
Those who questioned @paul_george24 during All Star break bcuz u didn't see the Pacers play that much, check him out now! PG can go....— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) May 25, 2013
George has been sensational in both games of this series.
If there's one thing for us to follow as we push through this series, it's the positional battle between George and LeBron. Not only is James the best player in the world, but he's also one of the premier defenders.
George hasn't let that prevent him from creating one of the NBA's best rivalries.
Could Paul George pass KD as LeBron's chief rival?— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) May 25, 2013
Hit the comments section and let us know.