MIAMI - This does not sound like a winning formula. Miss 24 of 29 shots in one stretch, on the road. Watch an 11-point second-half lead turn into a deficit. Have your entire team get outscored by two players in the fourth quarter.
Somehow, it worked for the Indiana Pacers.
And with one part of the Big Three gone, the Miami Heat might have a very big problem.
David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and the Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night - after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both came up short on key opportunities in the final minute.
"Defense and rebounding," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We built this team, we started talking about smash-mouth basketball about winning the war in the trenches, and that's with defense and rebounding. That's what I grew up watching Eastern Conference basketball being like. We understand offense is going to come and go, especially like a great defensive team like these guys ... but we're pretty good too."
The series is tied at 1-1, with Game 3 in Indianapolis on Thursday night.
James scored 28 points for Miami and Wade finished with 24, though both failed to convert big chances late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining. Moments later, a few of the Pacers were leaping in celebration at midcourt of Miami's floor, something that Wade said was noticed afterward.
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"The game is not lost or won with two free throws," James said. "But I definitely want to come through for my teammates. So I'll get an opportunity again. I know I'll be at the line again in that situation. Just go up and make `em."
Miami was without Chris Bosh, who's sidelined indefinitely - almost certainly the rest of the series, possibly longer if the Heat advance - after he strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1.
His absence was noted in many ways. Miami shot 35 percent, got outrebounded 50-40 and besides James and Wade, no other Heat player scored more than five points. After Wade's missed layup that would have tied the game, he remained on the court for a few extra seconds, looking exhausted until James - who said Wade would make that shot "10 out of 10 times" - pulled him up.
"Chris was missed, no doubt about it," Wade said. "But that's not the reason we lost this ball game."
The Heat were outscored 28-14 in the third quarter, shooting 3 for 17 in that period. They didn't score in the final 2:41, and when Mario Chalmers missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it on the last play, Miami dropped to 1 for 16 from 3-point range on the night, 1 for 22 in the series.
"Welcome to the playoffs, for us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's how we're viewing it. This series has started. They won on our home court. Now we have to collect ourselves, gather ourselves and get ready for Game 3. That's all that matters right now."
George Hill had 15 points, Danny Granger scored 11 and Paul George added 10 for Indiana, which made only 38 percent of its shots. The Pacers had been 2-9 this season when shooting that poorly, yet got a split in Miami anyway.
PBT: Spurs guard Tony Parker repeatedly sliced through the Grizzlies' defense, creating 20 points and nine assists in an easy Game 1 win for San Antonio.
PBT: The Grizzlies haven't faced a team this postseason that can execute its system to the level that the Spurs can. The results were obvious in the series opener.
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