The Pacers and Heat will battle again on Saturday in a crucial Game 3.The Eastern Conference Finals heads to South Beach on Saturday as the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat face off in a critical Game 3 with the series tied 1-1.
How important is this game? The winner of Game 3 in a best-of-7 series tied 1-1 goes on to win the series 76 percent of the time.
The Heat are clutch
The Heat have started slow in games this postseason, averaging just 23.5 points on 46 percent shooting in the first quarter while being outscored 261-258 across 11 games.
Heat in Clutch Time This Postseason
Final 5 Min. of 4th Qtr/OT, Score Within 5
But they have dominated their opponents when it counts in clutch time, which is defined as the final five minutes of the fourth quarter and/or overtime when the score is within five points.
Miami has played 14 clutch-time minutes this postseason and has outscored its opponents 41-17 in those situations. The Heat have clamped down on the defensive end as well, holding opponents to just 21 percent from the floor while forcing as many turnovers (5) as made shots.
Wade looking fresh
Perhaps all that rest which Wade took during the regular season is finally paying off. Wade is playing his best basketball of the season as the Heat are on the verge of another trip to the NBA Finals.
Wade has scored 20 points in three straight playoff games for the first time since the 2012 NBA Finals, and he is averaging 25 points on 65 percent shooting against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dwyane Wade This Postseason
He’s scored 29 of his 50 points when guarded by Lance Stephenson, who said before the series he wanted to make Wade’s knee flare up. Well, Wade is 13 for 21 (62%) when guarded by him.
D-Wade has been explosive too, making 15 of 20 shots inside the paint, including 5 of 6 on drives to the basket.
And Wade has shown no signs of wearing down. He is 11 for 12 with 23 points in the fourth quarter of this series while playing 21 of 24 possible minutes.
Paul George’s playing status
George took a knee to the back of his head during the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Tuesday. After the game he was diagnosed with a concussion and now must undergo the NBA-mandated protocol for return-to-participation after a diagnosed concussion.
Pacers With Paul George On/Off Court
If George is not able to play on Saturday, he will certainly be missed by the Pacers.
George has played 620 minutes this postseason and the difference with him off the court has been significant. The Pacers have outscored opponents by 64 points with George on the court in the playoffs, but have been outscored by 27 points with him off the court.
The Pacers starting lineup of George Hill, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, David West and Roy Hibbert has played 57 out of a possible 96 minutes this series. During that span, they are outscoring the Heat by 23 points. With any other lineup combination, the Pacers have been outscored by 16 points.