NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, May 24th (All times Eastern)
(1) Indiana Pacers (1-1) at (2) Miami Heat (1-1), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Eastern Conference finals shift to South Beach Saturday night when the Indiana Pacers visit the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena.
The series is tied 1-1, but the biggest question for Game 3 was answered Friday.
Paul George, the Pacers' best player, is a go for Saturday night.
Indiana's All-Star forward suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 87-83 loss in Game 2. In a dive for a loose ball, Miami's Dwyane Wade kneed George in the back of the head.
George remained face down on the court for several minutes, but stayed in the game. He passed the in-game concussion test and admitted after the game that "he blacked out."
He was diagnosed with a concussion following the game and was subjected to the league's concussion protocol. On Friday night, the team announced that George passed and "barring any unforeseen complications, he will play in Saturday's game at the Miami Heat."
"I'm going to approach it the best way I can," George said before he was officially cleared.
The Pacers, who are 5-0 following a loss this postseason, need George, the team's best player, to perform. He's tasked with covering LeBron James and is the leading scorer for a team that has trouble scoring.
Game 2 was a perfect showcase for what the Heat's superstars can still do.
James and Wade scored or assisted on the final 33 points for Miami en route to victory.
Wade shot an efficient 10-for-16 en route to a team-high 23 points, while James tacked on 22 with seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots in the triumph. Norris Cole and Chris Andersen did their part as well, contributing 11 points and 12 rebounds, respectively, off the bench.
Miami trailed 73-69 following George's deep 3-ball at 7:19 of the fourth, but James netted nine straight Miami points during a 13-2 run. Wade then followed James' missed layup with a tip-slam, and padded the cushion with a short jumper. The late flurry all but sealed the margin for the Heat.
"I needed to do something in the fourth," said James. "I needed to make a few buckets to help us in the fourth quarter and I was able to come through for us."
Lance Stephenson scored 25 points to lead Indiana, which failed to build off of its impressive Game 1 win and hold home court advantage. Roy Hibbert had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
All five Indiana starters scored double figures for the second straight game while once again James and Wade were the lone Heat starters to crack double digits, but Miami's reserves outscored their counterparts, 20-9.
George had 14 points, while George Hill chipped in 13 and David West was held to just 10.
The Heat have won all five home games during the playoffs and four in a row against the Pacers as the host.
Game 4 will be Monday night in Miami.
05/24 10:30:12 ET