The Indiana Pacers pulled out a four point win over the mighty Miami Heat last night, tying the Eastern Conference Finals at 1-1. Indiana, which would have won game one if not for some heroics by Lebron James in the final 2.2 seconds, suddenly seems like a bona fide threat to the defending champion Heat. The Pacers controlled game two and, in the win, got terrific production from Roy Hibbert and Paul George, who finished with 29 and 22 points respectively. Indiana also did a great job bottling up everyone on the Heat other than James. Dwayne Wade, who is struggling with a knee injury, continued to struggle and Miami finished with just three players in double digits scoring. (Only one Heat player, Lebron, finished with over 20 points.) Going back to Indianapolis, the Pacers have snatched home court advantage from the uber-talented Heat and are playing exceptionally at both ends. Going ahead and taking the series, however, will obviously be no cakewalk. The Pacers have been scoring plenty of points against one of the league’s best defenses, and continuing to do so will be a challenge. Indiana also needs to continue to keep Wade and Chris Bosh from becoming major factors (Bosh has only 34 points and SEVEN rebounds through two games). The fact that the series is tied 1-1 is a testament to the Pacers and what they can do. Now, it will be interesting where they go from here.
Things are less tense in the Western Conference Finals, at least for the moment. The Spurs killed the Memphis Grizzlies in game one, rolling to a 105-83 win. Game two was a much tighter contest, as Memphis crawled back from an early deficit to push the game to overtime before losing to the Spurs. Game three tonight is critical for Memphis. While the Grizzlies trailed 0-2 in their opening round series with the Clippers before winning four straight, such a feat would probably be impossible against the experienced Spurs. Quite simply, to make a comeback the Grizzlies absolutely need a win tonight. Part of what ails the Grizz is that they simply have not been very good offensively this series. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol struggled mightily in game two, and Memphis shot 34% from the field in the loss. From my perspective, Memphis should use Mike Conley more tonight. He finished with only 14 field goal attempts and four assists in game two. Both of those numbers will probably need to be higher going forward. The Grizzlies have been awesome at home in the playoffs so far. They certainly could use a win tonight. To do so, they will probably need to clear the 90 point mark for the first time this series.