Indianapolis, June 2 (IANS) Paul George and Roy Hibbert combined 52 points as the young duo led Indiana Pacers to beat Miami Heat 91-77, drawing the series back 3-3 to force a Game 7 in the NBA.
George spent team-high 43 minutes and 16 seconds on court, finishing with team-high 28 points Saturday. He made a big three-point shot when Heat moved within four points in the fourth quarter, carrying the host team over the most dangerous time of the game, reports Xinhua.
“He’s (George) a big shot maker. He has a great ability to contain the basketball and use his length to challenge and be in the passing lanes. When he’s aggressive, trying to live in the paint, making the extra pass, with his ability to make shots, he just gives us a tremendous lift on the offensive end as well,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
Hibbert had a 24-point-and-11-rebound game. He made 11 out of his 20 shots and finished strong on the defensive side when he refused a dunk from LeBron James.
Both George and Hibbert gave credit to David West, who came into the game with upper respiratory infection.
“David West understands what’s at stake. We still went to him because we know David West, we’ll take David West any day. Sick or healthy, he just gave us his all,” said George.
West wrapped up his game with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The two sides fought a tough fight in the first half. The Heat led by 50-49 to finish the second quarter.
However, the game went into Pacers’ rhythm after the host team started the second half with a 14-2 spurt. Heat was struggling on the offensive side, taking only 15 points in the period while their opponents bagged 29.
“I felt like we were outplaying them but we were just leaving a lot of plays out there. We just had to complete those plays and continue the things that were working for us,” said Vogel.
Heat was able to cut the gap to four points in the final quarter but George’s strong finish dragged the Pacers to the right track again. The third seed staged a 9-0 run to keep the victory at home.
One game to go still to go Heat coach Spoelstra is still confident.
“We work all season long for a Game 7. It’s an incredible opportunity as a professional athlete to be part of a Game 7. That’s why our guys are looking forward to this, even after a disappointing loss like tonight,” said Spoelstra.
James topped the game with 29 points. Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers finished 10 points each for the Heat.