The Miami Heat fell 93-90 to the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals match-up Wednesday night.
Paul George had the game of his life, and the Pacers were able to muster a big performance to avoid elimination.
Of course, it's much easier to win a game against the Miami Heat when LeBron James sits out more than a half. And it's much easier to beat the Heat when the refs are putting you on the line obscenely more than Miami.
But still. A win is a win is a win.
So what can we glean from Game 5?
1. That Ed Malloy's amazing defense on LeBron was the difference in this game It was by far the worst playoff performance of LeBron James' career. And for good reason. NBA referee Malloy's quick movements and stifling ways pretty much prevented LeBron from getting into rhythm and leaving any kind of mark on the game. It also gave the Pacers their MVP of the night. James scored only seven points and was virtually invisible throughout Game 5. By the time LeBron was able to play without Malloy's impregnable skills, the damage was seemingly done. Ed Malloy: Pacer hero. 2. That Lance Stephenson is officially the Most Hated Player of all time Think about this for a second.
The Ed Malloy game pic.twitter.com/mdk77rqpcJ— Bo Churney (@bochurney) May 29, 2014
In a world where we have had to deal with the monumental douche knockery from the likes of Joakim Noah, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, John Starks, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea, and Russell Westbrook, Lance Stephenson has managed to come out on top as the person with the most punchable face in the NBA universe.
That's quite a feat.
3. That Bat Boy's night was wasted Rashard Lewis has played exceptional defense all series long. But he hasn't been able to hit a single shot. Until Game 5. And it was in Game 5 that Lewis exploded by draining six threes and finishing with 18 points.
AND IT WAS ALL FOR NAUGHT!
4. That a game the Heat had no business being in came down to a final shot LeBron James' foul trouble was the story of this game. Because any time you remove the best player in the world from the equation -- that's the story. Paul George scored 37 yada yada yada. But it's easy to put up seismic numbers when the best player on the floor is gone and you don't have to concern yourself with him. No, the fix was not in. And yes, LeBron didn't help himself with some of those reach-ins. But holy dick buckets, were those bad calls.
Still, George was lights-out and put up 31 of his 37 in the second half. The Pacers, as a team, shot over 50 percent from the field, went 8-for-19 from downtown, and grabbed 38 rebounds. In an elimination game. At home.
Yet the game came down to Chris Bosh having a pretty decent look from the corner.
He hits that and the narrative today is completely different. But he missed. And the Pacers were able to live to see another day.
Basically, it had to take some out-of-this-world play from a wildly inconsistent Paul George, some extremely questionable officiating, and Chris Bosh missing a shot he could very well have made for the Pacers to win this game.
Heat shot eight free throws tonight -- the lowest total by a team in the last 1,447 NBA playoff games.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) May 29, 2014
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