In a game that was never in question after the 1st quarter, the Heat defeated the Pacers, to win the Eastern Conference Finals 4 games to 3. This will be the Heat’s 3rd consecutive trip to the Finals.
LeBron James led the Heat with 32 points. Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 10 points in the first half and Chris Bosh added 9 points and 8 rebounds.
For the Pacers, Roy Hibbert scored 18 points, along with 8 rebounds. David West contributed 14 points and 6 rebounds. George Hill added 13 points.
Miami took this game from the Pacers in the 2nd quarter and never looked back. Their defensive pressure and overall intensity was something we hadn’t seen through the 1st 6 games. The Heat forced the Pacers into 21 turnovers, most coming as they trapped Hibbert hard after he caught the ball in the post, and pressuring the backcourt players. That effort threw the Pacers offense out of whack. Hibbert also got into serious foul trouble for the first time as well, simply because the Heat began to attack him. Also, Paul George was a no-show on the offense end. That was due to LeBron deciding to take him out of the game with suffocating defense.
More importantly, Wade and Bosh finally made a positive impact on a game this series. Wade looked full of energy like he had something to prove, and Bosh finally gave an effort on the glass and it was huge for the Heat when they needed it the most.
The Pacers were a very game opponent and will be a threat for a while, but the Heat did what they were supposed to do, and showed why they are the defending champions. The effort and energy that wasn’t there in Games 1-6 showed in Game 7 and there was nothing Indiana could do about it.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals versus the San Antonio Spurs will begin Thursday.