The Indiana Pacers disappointing Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat exposed the immature side of the Pacers game when LeBron James mounted a third-quarter rally that was met without an expected response from Indiana.
Fantastic as he was, LeBron can't beat the Pacers by himself and even while he was devastating the Pacers with 16 third quarter points, it was still resembling Game 2 when James was also spectacular but the Pacers won the game. After James made a three-pointer with three minutes left in the third, he had 13 points in the quarter but the Pacers were still down just six points.
It wasn't until one of the 'Bronettes stepped up to help out that the deficit grew to double digits. Udonis Haslem went Game 3 on the Pacers, quickly knocking down three consecutive corner jumpers and suddenly the Pacers were down 12.
The Pacers lean on their young players to play beyond their years, but there are times when Paul George and Lance Stephenson flash their youth and lack of experience. PG had a phenomenal first half and overall wonderful game, but when LeBron went to another level, PG started trying to do too much and force plays, or more specifically, passes that simply weren't there for the Pacers.
A few poor behind-the-back or shovel passes from George highlight the Pacers second-half problems but the poor response was a team effort. The Heat cashed in 18 turnovers for 22 points and outscored the Pacers in the paint and in second-chance points. The Pacers were beat at their own game and that just can't happen. Foul trouble and poor play from Stephenson and George Hill also limited the Pacers starting unit, the most effective first five in the league, to roughly 16 minutes of play together.
Bottom line: The Pacers had a great chance to take a big step last night and simply proved not ready.
So, kudos to LeBron for taking over Game 5 to give the Heat a 3-2 series. But the Heat will have to find a different way to beat the Pacers in Game 6 unless the Pacers find another way to beat themselves.
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