Here are three clips you probably won’t see on the NBA.com highlight reel from the Pacers’ spirited win over Miami last night:
1) George Hill does his best DeAndre Jordan impersonation:
2) Crazy Lance Stephenson submits the worst possession by any NBA player thus far this season:
3) David West throws the ball squarely off teammate Roy Hibbert’s head:
Indeed, it was a rough start for the league-leading Pacers.
The turning point: Paul George’s awakening
Throughout the first half Paul George appeared hesitant and generally shook by LeBron’s defense. The talk of him being a legitimate MVP candidate – a semi-contender to LeBron’s throne – seemed a distant memory.
With 4 minutes left in the third, he was 0-for-4 from the field with five turnovers. Then he realized that Ray Allen was “guarding” him, and promptly hit three straight shots to spark the Pacers’ comeback:
This is where the complexion of the game changed.
It isn’t all Ray Ray’s fault. He lacks the length, energy and quickness to navigate through screens and contest the lad’s jumpshot (much less defend him off the dribble). And he should not really be guarding him in the first place, but LeBron had three fouls – and more importantly appeared too fatigued to put forward a Defensive Player of the Year-level effort for more than one half.
Standing THIS far off George after he’s just hit two in a row, though, is ridiculously silly by the veteran Allen:
And LeBron let him know it:
Stopping George – and goading him into making the kind of difficult passes that went astray in the first half – is the Heat’s best bet to stop the Pacers, as they simply do not have the size to prevent Roy Hibbert from controlling the paint on both ends. George’s breaking free for 15 eventual second half points is what did the Heat in last night. LeBron may have to suck it up and guard him for four quarters come the postseason. Bring on the Conference Finals (and Indy’s trip to Miami next Thursday).