|Date of game: 5/18/2014
Recap: Indiana vs. Miami
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - The inevitable rematch finally got going on Sunday afternoon.
Indiana set the pace early by shooting the lights out.
Paul George had 24 points and seven assists and the Pacers routed the Miami Heat, 107-96, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers made six of their first seven shots from beyond the arc and shot 59.5 percent in the first half en route to a 55-45 cushion at the break. Indiana built its advantage up to as many as 19 in the third and staved off every Heat push down the stretch in the wire-to-wire win.
"We played with a great energy," George said. "That's been an area where we lacked this postseason. Being consistent with our energy and urgency to start games off. I thought we brought that."
This is a repeat of last year's East Finals, which was won in seven games by the Heat. However, last year's Game 7 was in South Beach and that won't be the case if this series goes the distance. The two teams split four regular-season meetings with the home team prevailing each time. Miami also defeated Indiana in the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Speculation ran rampant as to what happened to an Indiana team that began the year 41-12, but dropped nine of its last 16 games to close the regular season.
The Pacers appeared reinvigorated Sunday.
Indiana's entire starting five scored in double figures and it moved to 6-0 this postseason when Roy Hibbert scores 10-or-more points. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.
David West tallied 19 points and seven boards, Lance Stephenson posted 17 points, eight assists and four rebounds and George Hill added 15 points for the Pacers, who improved to 4-4 at home in the playoffs after going an NBA- best 35-6 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse during the regular season.
The Pacers ended up shooting 51.5 percent (35-of-68) from the field and 42.1 percent (8-of-19) from beyond the arc.
"It's a good start to the series. It's just a good start, that's all it is," Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Indianapolis.
Dwyane Wade netted 27 points, while LeBron James supplied 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals for Miami, which lost for the second time this postseason.
"We are a confident team and we feel like we can win here. We're going to have to play a lot better on the defensive end of the floor," Wade said.
Indiana raced out to a quick 7-0 start after Hill hit a quick 3-pointer and sunk a pair of free throws before Stephenson nailed a step-back jumper. It became 20-10 midway through the frame after George knocked down back-to-back triples.
The Pacers led 30-24 following a quarter of play. It was their first 30-point opening frame since Feb. 27.
Miami pulled within 41-37 in the second before Stephenson sandwiched a pair of jumpers around Hibbert splitting two foul shots to up the advantage back to 46-37.
After James cut the gap to 50-45 following a pair of buckets, Indiana netted the final five points of the half.
The Pacers piled it on in the third.
George capped an 8-0 burst with a layup to extend the margin to 69-52 a little before the midway point of the stanza. Two Hibbert free throws made it 81-62, but James' layup concluded an 8-0 Miami flurry to get the two-time defending champs within 81-70.
George's jumper with 1.8 ticks left in the period gave Indiana an 83-70 lead heading into the fourth.
Wade's layup got Miami within 83-74 early in the fourth, but the Pacers responded with six straight and the Heat never got the deficit below double digits again.Game Notes
Indiana held a 38-29 rebounding advantage ... This is the third Eastern
Conference finals rematch in the last 24 years. The Detroit Pistons and Heat
clashed in the 2005 and 2006 East Finals, while the New York Knicks and Pacers
squared off in 1999 and 2000.