The Pacers' Darren Collison and David West react on a call by the official in the third quarter. The Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Bankers Life FieldHouse on Thursday, May 24, 2012.
Indiana’s OWN “big three” — Danny Granger, David West and Roy Hibbert — asserted itself early in Game 6 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday night. But when the Pacers abandoned their inside game, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and the Heat took over and ended the series with a 105-93 win.
“They gave it everything they had and it wasn’t enough,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
The three anchored a 10-2 Pacers run to start the game. West — who scored just eight and 10 points in Games 4 and 5, respectively — dropped eight points within the game’s first eight minutes.
Of Indiana’s first 24 points, 21 were in the paint with the lone exception of a Granger three-pointer. Granger led the Pacers in scoring in that first quarter with nine, followed by West with eight and Hibbert with four.Big time
Granger, West and Hibbert, along with Paul George, gave the Indiana lineup three players at 6-9 and one at 7-2. Miami had just one player in that range: Ronny Turiaf at 6-10.
The Pacers’ bigs, egged on by the crowd’s jeers of “Heat are softer,” carried that ownership of the paint over to the defensive side as well, as the Heat did not manage a single offensive rebound in the opening quarter. Indiana out-rebounded Miami 14-3 total in that quarter, and jumped out to a 28-21 lead.
But the Pacers changed their approach at the start of the second quarter. Granger, West and Hibbert all remained seated as Lou Amundson, Darren Collison, Tyler Hansborough, Dahntay Jones and Leandro Barbosa took the floor. With the lane suddenly clear, Wade went to work.
Wade scored six points within the first three minutes of Indiana’s “big three”-less second quarter to help Miami take its first lead at 32-30. Bench woes
“You have to use your bench at some point,” Vogel said.
And while Granger, West and Hibbert would return, Wade’s hot hand was too much to handle. After managing just six points in the first quarter, he posted 20 points in the second quarter alone, and went on the score 41 total. It was Wade’s season-high score, topping his regular-season high of 36 points.
LeBron James added 26 points of his own.
“We’re making no excuses,” Heat coach Erik Spoelsta said of his team’s play without Chris Bosh. “We have enough. [Wade and James] have to give us more. … They know they have to play at a higher lever.”
While Indiana owned the boards in the first quarter, Miami out-rebounded the Pacers 7-6 in the second, and 10-9 in the third.
“We feel like we had an opportunity,” Granger said. “The series was ours for the taking and we got back on our heels.”Good as gone
Indiana got farther away from its inside game in the second half, starting with missed three-point attempts in its first two possessions. The Pacers followed that up with two turnovers and never regained their early presence in the post, which allowed the heat to jump out to a 79-69 lead by the third quarter’s end.
After combining for 21 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second, Granger, West and Hibbert disappeared. They combined for just two points the entire third quarter.
“We would have had to play our best to beat them, and we didn’t do that,” Vogel said. “We did at times.”
Indiana also committed six turnovers in the third quarter to Miami’s zero, and the Heat out-scored the Pacers 28-16 in that quarter. On the night, the Pacers turned it over 20 times, to Miami’s nine.