This was apparently the game the Indiana Pacers had been waiting for to put forth their best performance of the NBA playoffs.
The Pacers led wire-to-wire to beat the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, as their starters outscored the Heat’s starters, 94-70.
It was the third time this season that the Heat did not lead at any point. The other two came on March 4 against the Rockets and March 6 against the Spurs.
The Heat and Pacers have played 15 times since the start of last season. The Heat are 6-1 at home, but 1-7 on the road in those 15 games.
Difference Maker: Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert finished with 19 points and nine rebounds in his 39 minutes played on Sunday. The Pacers outscored the Heat by 19 points with Hibbert on the court and were outscored by eight points with him off the court.
Heat with Hibbert On/Off Court
The Heat's average shot distance was almost 7-feet farther out when Hibbert was on the court, as noted in the chart on the right.
Heat players finished a combined 4 for 13 for nine points when guarded by Hibbert in this game.
The Pacers improved to 6-0 this postseason in games in which Hibbert scored in double figures.
The Pacers attempted 22 more free throws than the Heat (37 to 15) in Game 1. The Heat have now played 389 games in the Big 3 era, combining regular season and playoffs. Only twice over that span have they had a worse free throw attempt disparity (in 2011-12 against the Magic and Hawks, when they were outshot by 26 and 23 free throw attempts respectively).
Key factor: contested jumpshots
The Heat were 5 for 21 on contested jumpshots in this game. The Pacers went 7 for 12 on contested jumpers.
Chris Bosh struggled on both contested and uncontested shots in this game, going 2 for 9 when shooting a jumper.
Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Day
This was the 210th playoff game in Pacers history. It was the first time in which all five of their starters scored at least 15 points.
Right where they want ‘em
The Heat are 4-0 in playoff series in the Big 3 era after losing Game 1 That includes a win over the San Antonio Spurs in last season’s NBA Finals.
The team that wins Game 1 of a best-of-7 series goes on to win the series 77 percent of the time.
Teams that win Game 1 of a conference finals by double figures have won 23 of 25 series since the first season of the NBA’s current playoff format (1984).