The Miami Heat finding a way to beat the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night wasn’t particularly shocking. They were playing at home, have the reigning MVP on their side and so on and so forth. What was mildly surprising, though, was how close the champs came to giving Game 1 away.
With less than 25 seconds remaining, Pacers head coach Frank Vogel decided that the best way to defend against LeBron James was to take out his best interior defender, Roy Hibbert. Naturally, on the very next play, James scored and put his team up by two. By the grace of God, Indiana was able to overcome that lapse in judgment when Paul George “got fouled” while attempting a three with two seconds remaining. He made all three free throws and left Miami down one on its own home floor.
All the Pacers needed to secure victory was one stop. Hibbert Time, right? Wrong. Inexplicably, Vogel decided that that the way to defend the most impressive physical specimen in basketball history was to guard him with smaller, less capable foes in a horribly drawn up play.
As you would expect, it didn’t work out.
The Heat ultimately took Game 1, 103-102.