Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Wednesday, May 21, the morning after Basketball Twitter spontaneously combusted from an overload of NBA Draft lottery results, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals and Mallory Edens’ Katherine Webb-like revelation to the male population. Let’s start with the stuff we can at least attempt to rationally explain: the second showdown between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.
Indiana led by as many as eight in the first half, but the Heat went into halftime with a four-point lead after a ridiculous tip in with 0.1 seconds left from Lance Stephenson concluded the second quarter. In case you haven’t been paying attention, “Born Ready” Lance Stephenson and Dwyane Wade is rapidly evolving into one of the NBA’s best individual rivalries, with both these unstoppable forces colliding in the first half.
Bourne Ready: pic.twitter.com/t0O9vPtLIv
— Jared Wade (@8pts9secs) May 21, 2014
In the third quarter, one of those unstoppable forces stole the spotlight and “Lance a made her dance,” as the expression goes. Stephenson scored 13 of his 25 points in the third to give Indiana a one-point lead heading into the fourth, but then LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took over down the stretch. An 8-0 run in a 1:33 span by Miami gave the Heat a five-point lead with just over three minutes to play and the Pacers just couldn’t climb back into it after that, falling in an 87-83 contest that tied the series at 1-1.
King James finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals, coming to life in the fourth with 12 points in the period. Dwyane Wade led Miami with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go with five boards and five assists. Norris Cole was huge for Miami off the bench with 11 quick points off the bench. Despite Indiana shooting 47.4 percent from three-point range, the Heat still outshot the Pacers by nearly 10 percent from the field. All five Pacers scored in double digits, but David West and Paul George struggled with their shot and the Indiana bench totaled nine measly points on a combined 3-of-13 shooting.
Before the game, I made a not-so-bold prediction that the winner of Game 2 would go on to win this series. Heading back to Miami tied up 1-1, the Heat certainly have the upper hand and Indiana has to steal a game on the road to have a chance of prevailing. But before we declare the Pacers dead in the water just yet, let’s recall not only how far this team has come in the last few weeks after looking like they were completely doomed, but also that Indiana matches up with Miami better than any team in the league. This series is far from over, barring an epic Indiana meltdown.