The Indiana Pacers have been described as ‘bipolar’ in this 2014 NBA Playoffs. The good news for them is that the good side appeared first in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat as the home team notched the easy 107-96 victory on Sunday to gain the 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven affair.
The Pacers started the game like a house on fire—dropping 30 points in the first quarter and shooting above 63 per cent after the first half when they built a 55-45 lead at the break.
They never let up and never gave the defending champions a chance as all starting five scored in double-figure scoring for the Pacers led by Paul George’s 24 points. He also had 4 rebounds and 7 rebounds.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra stubbornly stuck with his smallball starting Shane Battier at the 4 spot and paid dearly for it in this game. David West, who was guarded by either LeBron James or Battier, missed just 3 of 11 shots from the field for 19 points.
The good version of Roy Hibbert showed up as well finishing with 19 points and 9 rebounds while George Hill had 15 points and Lance Stephenson, 17 markers.
The starters combined to shoot 63.3 per cent from the field and as a team they shot 51.5 per cent—impressive numbers considering the offensive woes they went through late in the regular season and early in this postseason.
Dwyane Wade's knees did not "flare-up" yet in this game and he even scored 27 points for the Heat. He missed only 6 of 18 shots. James had a similar efficient rate from the floor: 11 of 18 field goals for 25 points.
Only Ray Allen (12 points) and Chris Andersen (14) had good numbers from the Heat. Chris Bosh had 9 points (4/12 FG) and Mario Chalmers had 6 points (2/9 FG).
Game 2 is set on Tuesday when the Pacers try to protect home floor once again and grab the 2-0 lead in the series.