“It was just one of those games that we want to play from beginning to end,” Bosh said. “Here on our home court, we wanted to make a statement.”
There were the now-requisite Lance Stephenson events, adding intrigue to the first half. The Pacers‘ guard walked over to James and tapped him in the face in the opening minutes, stood over him after both got tangled under the basket, and got whistled for a flagrant foul for striking Norris Cole in the head in the second quarter.
It was the end of a memorable series for Stephenson, none of which really had anything to do with basketball. His string of newsworthy moments from these East finals started when he talked about the health of Wade’s knees before the series and reached an apex in Game 5 when he blew into James‘ ear and walked into a Heat huddle.
The Heat were bothered by it all, but got the last laugh. Big Brother, again, reigned supreme in this rivalry. And when it was over, Stephenson went out and shook hands with plenty of Heat players, as did the rest of his teammates.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel was using the big brother-little brother analogy earlier in the series, telling the tale of how at some point in every sibling rivalry the younger one has to make a stand.
Indiana thought it would happen now.
The Heat, obviously, had other ideas.
West said those words about eight hours before game time.
They were in no dispute at night’s end.
NOTES: James appeared in what became his 100th playoff victory. … The Pacers are now 7-12 against Miami in the last three postseasons, and 20-10 against everybody else. … Wade and Udonis Haslem are going to the NBA Finals for the fifth time in nine seasons — with a 15-67 season on their record during that stretch as well. … Chris Andersen returned from a thigh injury, scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 13 minutes for Miami.