Just when we thought the "is LeBron clutch?" conversation had ended, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals will undoubtedly get the NBA's most oft-debated conversation heated up once again.
James turned the ball over twice in the final minute of Friday night's action, helping the Indiana Pacers defeat the Miami Heat, 97-93, to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
The critical turnovers obscure an otherwise brilliant performance from the league MVP. James scored a game-high 36 points and grabbed eight rebounds on a night where Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh both turned in disappointing outings.
Wade scored only 14 points, while Bosh had a customary 17 but grabbed only five rebounds. Both shot 6-of-14 from the floor.
While most will focus on the implications for Miami as the series heads back to Indiana, Game 2's biggest star was Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
The 7'2" big man, who was infamously benched for James' game-winning basket on Wednesday, scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. And on Miami's final meaningful offensive possession—James' second turnover of the final minute—it was Hibbert's length that forced LeBron to stop in his tracks and attempt a difficult pass.
The man who tipped that pass, David West, was involved with both James turnovers—making up for a dreadful offensive evening.
Meanwhile, Paul George's leap to superstardom continued. The 23-year-old All-Star scored shot 9-of-16 en route to scoring 22 points, including a ferocious dunk that will assuredly make highlight shows across the nation.
Indiana now heads back home having done what all underdogs aspire to do—win one of the first road games. The pressure will now be firmly on the Heat, as the series gets back underway Sunday night in Indianapolis.
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