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Question of the Day
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Chris Bosh blamed Miami’s problems Sunday on the defense.
Dwyane Wade thought the Heat needed to be more aggressive in the paint.
Paul George finished with 24 points and seven assists, David West added 19 points and seven rebounds, and suddenly surging Indiana led wire-to-wire in a 107-96 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“We had a lot of mistakes and they took advantage of it,” James said. “No one had it going. We had some really good looks. They didn’t fall, and we’ve just got to do a better job executing in the next game.”
If they don’t, the two-time defending NBA champs could find themselves on the ropes quickly in this best-of-seven series.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Indy, and the home team has won all five meetings this season. Miami hasn’t lost two straight playoff games since losing three straight to the Celtics in the 2012 conference finals - a span of 39 games.
To keep that streak intact, James and Wade need much more help. James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Wade had 27 points. The rest of the starters combined for 18 points in a game that Miami never even had a chance to tie after the first 40 seconds.
“We need to touch the paint. We need paint points,” Wade said. “We need myself, LeBron especially, and Mario (Chalmers) to attack the paint to be able to open up our shooters so they can get into a better flow, a better rhythm.”
Given the problems, the results were predictable.
For the first time in this year’s playoffs, the Pacers won a series opener. And for the first time in their last three playoff battles against the Heat, the Pacers won Game 1.
All five Indiana starters and backup C.J. Watson scored in double figures, helping Indiana produce its highest point total of the playoffs.
The Pacers limited the Heat to just four offensive rebounds and 6-of-23 shooting from beyond the arc. James went 1 of 5 on 3s and shot just two free throws, and Miami fell so far behind so fast, it never even had a chance to tie the score.
Indiana shared the ball, limited its turnovers, maintained its poise and got contributions from everyone in a game it had to win. Roy Hibbert finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, Lance Stephenson had 17 points and eight assists, and George Hill added 15 points as the Pacers looked more like the team that was so dominant over the first half of the season, rather than the one struggled so mightily in the second half.
The challengers in this matchup insist they know it’s only a start.
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