Indiana gave the Heat enough chances, missing more freebies than a Ben Wallace practice session, and yet the two best players in the world (supposedly) couldn’t finish the job. At home. With mismatches all over the court. The Pacers worked off a terrible first half to tie the series up with their 78-75 Game 2 win, which didn’t become official until Miami let Mario Chalmers seal their fate in the closing seconds (this ain’t college). Down three, South Beach’s starting point guard and LeBron‘s personal whipping boy decided it was his time, and lofted up a triple that was too ugly to have a chance. Indiana got 16 from David West, 15 from George Hill and a better-than-it-seemed 11 points from Danny Granger. Miami had chances to take the lead, but Dwyane Wade (24 points) was short on two late jumpers after hitting five shots in a row as Leandro Barbosa attempted to guard him and failed rather spectacularly. Then James (28 points, nine rebounds) not only got his shot punched off the glass by George, but he also missed two free throws. Down two in the last 20 seconds, LeBron didn’t want any part of it, and Wade got a decent look at the rim but couldn’t finish, later setting up Chalmers’ potential game-tying shot … Still, it’s hilarious that many truly believe the Pacers have a chance to advance. Yeah, of course they COULD have a shot if everything went perfectly… maybe if Chris Bosh went out with an injury (check), if Wade began spending more time working on fashionable outfits than winnable plays (possible), and if the Pacers hired Delonte West (never). But none of that’ll happen. Danny Granger is so mentally off his game he even used up a foul to give on LeBron in the closing seconds of the first quarter, which would’ve been a great strategy if the Pacers actually had a foul to give. James hit the free throws while Granger had to stand there, slowly melting inside. The dude started the series’ first six quarters shooting an impressive 3-for-17, and when he finally hit a couple in the second half, it was just enough to keep the Pacers from having to put him down for good … Roy Hibbert had eight points playing against the rag-tag frontcourt from the Heat. We’re not Shaq. The Diesel seems to think you can’t be a great center unless you average 28 points and 15 rebounds, which is akin to a rapper staying relevant for 20 years or an actress staying desirable in two generations. Only four pure centers in NBA history have done that, per some numbers from Eddy Rivera: Wilt, Kareem, Walt Bellamy, and Bob McAdoo. Great analysis Shaq. We’re not asking for that from Hibbert. But we need him to be more than a statue … Finally in the third quarter, the visitors picked it up. David West had a couple of buckets, and then Paul George finally got away from Wade – who’s already blocked three of his shots from behind in this series – to bang a triple. Suddenly, it was a one-point game. Miami hadn’t been able to open a cushion because they’re basically playing with two players (and it didn’t help James was 2-for-9 since the first quarter and Wade was 3-for-11 total by that point). The Pacers went on to score 12 in a row before a LeBron spinning layup cut Indiana’s lead to five. Eventually, Indiana pushed it to 11 on a 20-4 run. By midway through the fourth quarter, Indiana’s newfound intensity finally got to Miami. After LeBron scored on a post-up, he got into a tussle with Granger and appeared to throw an elbow. And from there, everyone predictably freaked out and overreacted … Keep reading to hear about what record the Spurs tied …
When was the last time you watched a championship favorite EASILY win a playoff game with their MVP candidate making one shot the entire game? The Spurs ran circles around the Clippers, 108-92, and Tony Parker finished with all of seven points while hitting just one basket. That’s because Manu Ginobili (22 points) made enough big shots to keep the Clippers honest, and at 36 years old Tim Duncan is still out there mashing young’ns and getting people to shave his likeness into their head. If you ever needed evidence that experience is more important than athleticism, you should’ve seen the Big Swim (26 points, 10 rebounds) destroying Blake Griffin last night. At this rate in his 15th season, Duncan might become the first person to ever unlock all of the career achievements on 2K … Kawhi Leonard (16 points) drilled two corner triples to start the second half and if it wasn’t for Caron Butler (15 points) forgetting he lost his game about three years ago, the game would’ve been over. Sadly, it only prolonged the inevitable. Chris Paul was on the bench before the third quarter was even over, and L.A. had to live with the fact that Eric Bledsoe (23 points) was by far their best player. Quite honestly, when you give up a dozen rebounds to Boris Diaw, you deserve to lose, and even after their four guard, desperation lineup damaged San Antonio in the fourth quarter, the Clippers did so quite emphatically … Between Blake Griffin (15 points, nine boards) and DeAndre Jordan (who actually had seven rebounds within the first 10 minutes of the game), the Clippers nearly had more dunks in the first quarter than the San Antonio crowd had seen all year. Even the bench picked up where they left off in Game 7 in Memphis. Nick Young made a couple of Swaggy P plays – hitting ridiculous shots while being fouled – and Bledsoe had a couple of steals and rebounds over big guys, keeping himself in line to become one of the offseason’s most hyped young players due to his postseason run (he later had a put-back dunk that was freakish). It felt like L.A. was playing out of their minds just to keep up, and yet when a 9-0 San Antonio run came in the second quarter, the Spurs had opened up some breathing room. The Spurs were running a clinic offensively, and made seven of 11 triples in the first half. They eventually tied a franchise postseason record with 13, which delivered their 15th-straight win … And Steve Francis actually tweeted this last night: “When you see something thats not real then you know whats fake #yupp.” TNT should replace Shaq with the Franchise … We’re out like Miami’s role players.
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook