In game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday night in Miami, the Indiana Pacers got off to a strong start in the first quarter. After 12 minutes of action, Indiana led 21-14 and received contributions – in one way or another – from every starter during that first period.
The Pacers continued to play solid basketball heading into the second quarter, jumping ahead by as many as 15 points. Indy led the Heat 37-22 about midway through the second period thanks to the duo of Lance Stephenson and Luis Scola.
Stephenson handled the ball for the majority of the second 12 minutes of the first half, assisting his teammates on baskets and scoring some of his own points. “Born Ready” also hit the glass aggressively in the first half, pulling down nine rebounds. Stephenson led the Pacers in rebounding during the regular season.
Scola was one of Stephenson’s ‘mates that was consistently on the receiving end of a few of Stephenson’s assists. The 6-9 Argentinian forward – and backup to starter David West – entered the game off the bench to score an efficient eight points on 4-5 shooting from the floor in nine minutes of action in the first half.
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel mentioned he planned to stick with his rotations throughout the East Finals, including Scola receiving his fair share of minutes. Scola has had an inconsistent run in the 2014 playoffs to this point, seeing his minutes decrease at times and even getting benched at one point earlier in the postseason.
Nevertheless, Scola’s contributions during the first half were key in helping Indiana maintain the lead heading into the half.
However, the Pacers did commit six turnovers in the waning minutes of the first half, allowing Miami to creep back into the game. After Indy led by as many as 15 points, and by double-digits for the majority of the second quarter, their careless basketball led to a plethora of Heat baskets on the other end.
In turn, the Pacers took just a four-point lead into halftime, 42-38. Roy Hibbert added 12 points in the first half for Indiana.
Tags: Indiana Pacers