Struggles at the Line Sink Miami at Home

The free throw line was the difference in Game 2.

Indiana was able to capitalize late in the game while Miami faltered. Pacers center Roy Hibbert and guard George Hill hit two big free throws with under a minute remaining to help Indiana steal a game on the road with a 78-75 victory Tuesday night.

Heat forward LeBron James missed two free throws with less than 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Miami had one last shot to tie the game, but a 3-pointer by Mario Chalmers was off line as the buzzer sounded.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds while playing 43 minutes. James played the entire second half and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Miami guard Dwyane Wade scored 24 points in the loss and was the only other Heat player in double figures. The other six Heat players to log any minutes combined for only 22 points.

Indiana, however, had four players in double figures led by power forward David West with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hill added 15 points, Danny Granger dropped 11 points and Paul George scored 10 points.

David West was one of three Indiana players to finish with 10 or more rebounds Tuesday.

This was the first game for Miami without Chris Bosh, who is out indefinitely with an abdomen injury. Udonis Haslem made the start at power forward and Ronny Turiaf got the start at center.

The Heat got little production from Haslem and Turiaf, combining for seven points and six rebounds in 25 minutes.

Bosh average 18 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in the regular season and averaged 14.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in a first-round series victory over the New York Knicks.

Bosh’s absence was noticeable when Wade or James went to the bench, especially late in the second and third quarters. Bosh was able to keep opposing defenses honest when James or Wade wasn’t on the floor.

The Heat will need to figure out where their offense is going to come from when Wade and James aren’t on the floor together.

Miami’s offense had no rhythm to it in the third quarter due to the ball being pounded into the floor by James or Wade and everyone else standing around. James scored a couple of baskets late in the quarter to close the lead to single digits, but the momentum was gone.

Wade sat on the bench for more than four minutes at the end of the third quarter and James was looked to for scoring. James, however, showed some fatigue with shots coming up short in the quarter.

The defensive intensity was lacking as well for the Heat with Indiana scoring 28 points in the third quarter. The Pacers closed the quarter on a 20-6 run to take a 61-52 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Heat seemed to come out with a sense of urgency in the first half on the defensive side of the ball. Indiana went 2-for-18 during a stretch between the first and second quarters while going more than 11 minutes without a bucket.

Bosh’s absence in the paint put more pressure on Turiaf, Joel Anthony and Shane Battier. The three combined for nine rebounds and two blocks in the first half and James was asked to guard everyone on the floor except for Hibbert.

James’ length and athleticism on the floor gave the Pacers offense a lot of problems clogging up passing lanes and affecting jump shots. Indiana was able to rebound late in the second quarter with a 9-0 run in the final two minutes to thwart a potential blow out.

About Charles Gonzalez

Charles Gonzalez has been a sports writer for 13 years. He has covered the NFL, NBA, MLB, College and high school sports during his career. He was a beat writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and also covered the Cleveland Indians during spring training for 8 years.

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