It was the best of time. It was the worst of time.
A crazy Paul George three-pointer extended the game to OT despite some suspect play down the stretch. Obviously, the takeaway is that the Pacers blew a chance to win the first game of this series on the road. They were up 1 with 2.2 to play in overtime and let LeBron James walk to the hoop for a layup. The real problem was a bad decision by George to over-deny the pass but still let James get the pass.
Then, LeBron easily went by him.
We can debate all day whether or not Roy Hibbert should have been in the game to protect the rim. I have mixed feelings. I understand what Frank Vogel did, but think Hibbert should have been on the court. Then again, given the play the Heat ran, I’m not sure Roy would have been in position to stop James at the rim. Or maybe he would have been.
Either way, George made a bad decision. He over-denied. It was his job to make sure LeBron didn’t catch and drive. He allowed LeBron the lane.
Let’s not kill George either though. Not for one play.
Without his unreal three and his clutch free throws, this game doesn’t come down to this, but he was the guy who let LeBron get to the hoop — not Frank Vogel. It was his job to prevent that drive from happening and force a James jumper and he failed to get it done.
More than one play, however, that was a really tough game for Indiana to lose. Huge opportunity lost.
But there are many takeaways.
One is that they can challenge this Miami team. They were right there.
Not stealing Game 1 may be the difference in this series, but it is encouraging to know that Indiana can play just as well as Miami, if not better, for 52 minutes and 57 seconds, even if it didn’t result in a win.
In many ways, the Pacers dictated how this game was played. In Miami.
They will try again on Friday. Another loss will put them in a 2-0 hole that will be tough to come back from. Winning one game in Miami is critical and now Indiana only has one more chance.