The Miami Heat avoided a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference finals by defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game 2. The Heat now have home-court advantage over the Pacers and they will look to take a 2-1 lead with a victory in Game 3 at the American Airlines Arena.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade led Miami in the closing minutes of the second game to pull off a much-needed victory and knot the conference finals to one game apiece. Miami also displayed better defence compared to Game 1 by restricting Indiana to just 87 points.
The health of Paul George was a concern for the Pacers, but the team has confirmed the 24-year-old will play in Game 3. "George will participate in the shootaround and barring any unforeseen complications, he will play Saturday," Pacers Tweeted.
George suffered a concussion in Game 2, when Wade's knee crashed onto the back of his head as he "blacked out" after the collision. With just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, George remained in the game, but couldn't make any impact as James and Wade owned final minutes of the game.
George skipped practice after the blow and will have to follow mandatory NBA procedure to return to the court in Game 3. "I probably should have kept that to myself," George said. "It just made a mess. That's something that, going forward, just keep that between myself and the training staff."
Both James and Wade said they never expected George to skip Game 3, considering what is at stake.
The Pacers have defended pretty well in the postseason series against both the Atlanta Hawks and the Washington Wizards, as they gave away just 84.8 points per game. With solid defence, Indiana managed to stave off elimination in the playoffs.
"We played at a high level in the Washington series, and those last two against Atlanta when we were down in the series, we played with great desperation," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Our guys take pride in their defense. That's probably why you see those numbers."
The Pacers have a good record away from home, as they have won five successive away games in the playoffs. Miami's James said home-court advantage is not a guarantee to win series as both teams are capable of winning away.
"Both teams can win on each other's floor. We've proven that the last couple years," James said. "We have to protect our home, but we can't go out there saying that just because we're back home we get automatic wins. We've got to play."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm ET (6:00 am IST, 12:30 am GMT) start with live coverage on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The game can be watched via live streaming option in the US HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.