Behind a stellar 30 point, eight rebound, and six assist night from LeBron James, the Miami Heat are now just one win away from earning a spot in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs after defeating the Pacers 90-79.
The night belonged to LeBron James as it looked more like a throwback to his days in Cleveland where he was the focal point and everyone else played a supporting role. LeBron made things happened and was also able to put his teammates in a position to make things happen, as well.
There were three key events that led to the Heats dominating victory. The first being a shoving match that broke out between the Heats Chris “Bird Man” Anderson and the Indiana Pacers Tyler “Psycho T” Hansbrough in the second quarter.
Indiana appeared to be in complete control of the pace and tempo of the game for much of the first half. In an interesting chain of events, Hansbrough and Anderson bumped into each other on one Indiana possession and then on the next, Anderson seemingly elbowed Hansbrough to the ground as play headed back down to the Miami end of the court.
Hansbrough then got up and he and Anderson exchanged words, bumped chests, and Anderson proceeded to shove Hansbrough who was caught by Pacers center Roy Hibbert. The two were then immediately separated and a flagrant-one was assessed to Anderson.
However, after Anderson and Hansbrough got into it, you could sense that the Heat and the hometown crowd was starting to feel the emotion of the moment and Miami began to wake up. While the Heat still trailed at the half, there were signs that Miami was starting feel the momentum.
The second event happened early in the third quarter when George Hill had to sit after picking up his fourth foul. That created mismatches that were in favor of the Heat which led to the third, and final, event that eventually led to the Heat victory and the Pacers demise.
The LeBron James Show rolled into town.
The reigning NBA MVP put on an absolute show in the third quarter. He entered the quarter with 11 total points and, after scoring 16 points, exited the third quarter with 27 points. On top of that, James also had four assists and played a part in 25 of the 30 total points that were scored by the Heat. The defense was stifling as they held Indiana to just 13 points in the third quarter and entered the fourth quarter leading by 13, 70-57.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra then gave LeBron a break to start the fourth quarter which lasted all of about a minute. After the Pacers opened the final quarter on a quick 5-0 run, James reentered the game and never went back to the bench.
Indiana outscored the Heat 22-20 in the final 12 minutes of play but it wouldn’t be enough as the Heat would take the 3-2 series lead by winning 90-79. In addition to James’ 30 point performance, Udonis Haslem chipped in 16 points and Mario Chalmers added 12 of his own.
For the Pacers, Paul George led the way with a 27 point and 11 rebound performance. Roy Hibbert added 22 points of his own with six boards and David West contributed 17 points and eight rebounds.
The night would belong to LeBron James and the Miami Heat as they take a 3-2 series lead into game six of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pacers will need to find some way to stop “King James” if they want to force a game seven.
Tip off for the potential series winning contest will be at 8:30 PM EST on Saturday, June 1st on TNT.
- With words and a look, James lifts Heat, 90-79 – The Seattle Times (seattletimes.com)
- NBA playoffs 2013: LeBron James scores 30, Heat take Game 5, 90-79 (sportingnews.com)
- LeBron James on Game 5: ‘I Just Went Back to My Cleveland Days’ (bleacherreport.com)
- LeBron James Puts Teammates, Pacers on Blast in Dominant Game 5 (bleacherreport.com)
- NBA: LeBron James’s third-quarter blitz leads Miami Heat to brink of finals (abc.net.au)