- Associated Press - Friday, May 30, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - There’s one area where the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat agree.

LeBron James, they insist, will be better in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Everyone, it seems, is waiting to see what sort of bounce-back effort James brings in Game 6 of the East finals after struggling mightily in Game 5, spending long stretches as a spectator because of foul trouble. The series resumes Friday in Miami.

“The greats usually try to respond with a comeback-type of performance,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “So I think we can expect that.”

Said Pacers star Paul George: “LeBron’s going to be LeBron. … Our hands are going to be full with LeBron. We know that.”

Sounds like a safe assumption, since James’ final stat line in Game 5 on Wednesday night - seven points, five fouls, two field goals, two air balls, one ear blown into by Indiana’s Lance Stephenson - was one of the worst in his career.

His first shot of the night? An alley-oop dunk that got the Miami bench celebrating.

Everything else that happened in Game 5 didn’t provide the Heat with much cause for celebration.

Five of his remaining nine shots were short, another was a missed layup and he didn’t take a single shot in the second and third quarters - the first time in his career that’s happened.

Of course, it wasn’t like he chose not to shoot: Fouls limited him to 4½ minutes in the middle two periods.

“It was frustrating last night, but I’m good now,” James said Thursday after practice. “Yesterday is old news. Today is a new opportunity, and tomorrow is another opportunity to get better. So for me, I move on. That’s why I’m able to stay who I am and be able to be better the next day.”

By any measure, Game 5 will go down as a historically bad night for James.

-He played 24 minutes, the sixth-fewest of his 994-game career.

-He was whistled for five fouls faster than ever before in an NBA game.

-He shot 2 for 10, his worst performance from the field in more than six years.

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