The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers have been playing a hard fought series in the Eastern Conference finals and with the San Antonio Spurs already in the finals the two teams are ready to take advantage and Game 5 saw the Heat win for a 3-2 series lead.
LeBron James has been the MVP for the Miami Heat and he did it again in Game 5 by leading the team in scoring, rebounding and assists and he caught fire in the third quarter, as did the Heat while outscoring the Pacers 30-13. After he fouled out of the physical Game 4 the team fell apart at the end and after a Dwyane Wade travel, the Pacers were able to seal the game with a 99-92 victory at home to get home court advantage back even, as both teams have won one home and one away now. The Pacers have played much better in the playoffs at home and the Heat won their first game in Indiana all year with the Game 3 win, but after rebounding the Pacers are now 7-1 at home with Game 6 coming on Saturday in Indiana.
James led the Heat with 24 points again, while Wade added six assists and Ray Allen had seven rebounds. For the Miami Heat to win the series, Allen cannot be the leading rebounder again and both Chris Bosh and Chris "Birdman" Andersen will need to do better on the boards against Roy Hibbert, who has proven to be the MVP of the Pacers and one of the best big men in the game today. Hibbert led the team again with 23 points and his rebounding has been essential for the team in the playoffs, as he had double-doubles in three straight games after adding 12 boards in Game 4. Hibbert was at his best with 20 points and 17 rebounds in the Game 3 loss and he had 29 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2 in Miami when the Pacers won 97-93 on the road.
Game 4 had tons of flopping and afterwards a number of players were fined, including James, Lance Stephenson and David West. The three stars had pretty obvious ones in the game and while James said it is a good strategy to use, the fine may after him from continuing that. It was very embarrassing for the NBA when James and Stephenson did it and James may have been frustrated with the calls in the game previously. The Pacers have called the Heat a flopping team, but based on the fines both sides are doing it.
Stephenson has proven to be an essential part of the team after faltering last year when the Heat came back from 2-1 down to win three straight games and the series, as he had 20 points in Game 4 and was excellent in the third quarter when he hit a big three point shot. Wade had a tough time in Game 4 and the Pacers know that their wins flow through Hibbert, who helped the team along with three clutch offensive rebounds to extend possessions in the final quarter. Hibbert now has dropped 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in three straight games and he will be the biggest reason whether the Pacers win or lose the series.
The Heat went cold at the end of the game while making just one shot over the finals five minutes and James will need to play smarter like he did earlier in the series when he had just one foul in a game. James usually isn't one to foul out and coming into that game he only had a handful of fouls on the road before ending up getting six and fouling out of the loss.