Paul George scored 28 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Miami Heat 91-77 to force a deciding Game 7 in the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference championship series.
The winner of the series, which will be determined tomorrow in Miami, will meet the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs for the NBA title. The Pacers haven’t advanced to the NBA Finals since they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 4-2 in 2000.
“Myself and David (West), we throw ourselves in the fray, in the paint,” said Roy Hibbert, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds. “We like to muck it up. Paul and myself, we wanted to make sure we got this for him as well. We didn’t want this to be our last game.”
The defending champion Heat had a 40-39 halftime advantage before the Pacers started their surge toward building a 17-point lead, 66-49, after D.J. Augustin scored his only basket with 59 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Heat rallied in the fourth with a 13-4 run to trail by four points at 72-68 with six minutes left in the game before the Pacers started rebuilding their lead to 15 points.
“Roy Hibbert is making extraordinary plays in the pocket, poise in the pocket we call it,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “He’s getting paint catches and just having great poise, great reads. He’s not plowing over guys. He had a charge in Game 5, but has been under control.”
LeBron James had 29 points for the Heat. Chris Bosh was 1-of-8 and Dwyane Wade was 3-of-11 from the field as Miami was held to 36 percent shooting.
James said the Heat was overwhelmed in the third quarter with the Pacers outshooting Miami 29-15.
“Explain it? You seen it. It was total domination by the Pacers in the third,” James said during a press conference. “They made a lot of shots, we didn’t get too many stops and we missed some very, very easy shots.”