INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 24 points, David West had 19, and the Indiana Pacers protected their home court with a 107-96 victory over the Miami Heat yesterday to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Indiana led wire to wire and never even gave the Heat a chance to tie the score after starting the game with a 5-0 lead.
“This is just a fun matchup,” George said. “It’s one that we’ve been waiting for all year.”
Game 2 is on Tuesday in Indianapolis. The home team has won all five meetings this season.
Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and LeBron James had 25 for the two-time defending NBA champions, who lost for only the second time in their 10 playoff games this year.
Indiana had a 30-point first quarter for the first time since Feb. 27 and extended the lead to 19 in the third. Miami never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
Indiana swarmed the glass, exploited its size advantage, made six of its first seven three-pointers and defended well enough to force the Heat to play catch-up the entire game.
“Yes, it was good, but if we come out and lay an egg on Tuesday, this game doesn’t mean anything,” Pacers guard George Hill said.