The Indiana Pacers' season ended suddenly, as it always does in the playoffs, after losing their third straight game to the Miami Heat, 105-93 on Thursday night. The Pacers certainly didn't help themselves with 20 turnovers but their biggest problem was that they shook the Heat to the core in the first three games of the series and forced LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to take their game, as a pair, to a new level.
And they certainly did that, with both stars averaging 33 points (EACH) in the last three games. They combined to score 139 points in the two games at the Fieldhouse. Two guys!
There isn't much solace in forcing the team that beats you to be better, but if you are going to lose, making that Heat duo play better than they've ever played together is worth noting.
"This series brought out the best in both of them," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They knew they had to play an extremely high level for us to have a chance. They knew."
For Frank Vogel and the Pacers making a deeper playoff run meant running into a challenge his team couldn't contain.
"We had our whole focus on Derrick Rose (in the playoffs) last year and it's like having two of them out there. Only bigger," Vogel said. "It's a big challenge. We did the best we could. We put up a good fight. We gave them a little wake-up call. But ever since Game 3 these guys played at such a high level that I don't know if anybody can beat them."
So after another frustrating playoff series loss, the Pacers head into the offseason with another elite rival in the Eastern Conference. Even better, the playoff run into late May has rejuvenated the NBA spirit of the city and raised the team's profile around town to make people aware of the hard work put in by the players, coaches and front office to make this a team that fans can proudly root for again.
Check out the links after the jump.
- Box score: Heat 105, Pacers 93
- Rewind: Game 6 Heat at Pacers 120524 | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE INDIANA PACERS
- Pacers-Heat Game 6: Indiana gives Miami too many chances with turnovers | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Bob Kravitz: Heat too hot for Pacers in the end | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers notebook: Dwyane Wade was too tough to stop | Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
- Pacers: Nothing to be ashamed of | Pacers Insider | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com
- Pacers season ends as they lose to the Heat - fox59.com
- Dynamic duo leads Miami back to Eastern finals - AP
- Loss to Heat nothing to cry about for Pacers - FS Indiana
- Dwyane Wade and LeBron James playing their best as Heat roll into Eastern Conference finals - Yahoo! Sports
- Miami Heat, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade take on Indiana Pacers, David West, Roy Hibbert. - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
- Even without Chris Bosh or Udonis Haslem, Miami Heat was the better team - Greg Cote - MiamiHerald.com
- Dwyane Wade leads Miami Heat over Indiana Pacers to advance to Eastern Conference Finals - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com
- Dwyane Wade delivers death blow to Pacers - Peninsula is Mightier
- Miami Heat: Heat's Big Two too tough for Pacers - fox59.com
- And That’s It | Eight Points, Nine Seconds
- Behind the Box Score, where the Miami Heat are moving on to the conference finals | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
- Heat prove to be the tougher team in eliminating Pacers in Game 6 - Brian Hendrickson - SI.com
- Heat paint winning picture in 2nd half - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN
- Daily Dime - ESPN - This Pair Looks Beyond Compare
- David West hilariously denies each and every one of his young fans a high-five (VIDEO) | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports