Miami wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Sunday, May 18th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th|
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|Game 3: Saturday, May 24th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 26th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th|
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|Game 6: Friday, May 30th|
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8:30 PM ET, May 30, 2014
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Heat eliminate Pacers in blowout win to advance to 4th straight Finals
Then came the playoffs.
And the question was answered -- emphatically.
The Heat became the third franchise in NBA history to reach the title series in four consecutive seasons, a laugher of a conference-title finale getting them there again Friday night. LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 25 points, and Miami eliminated the Pacers for the third straight year with a 117-92 romp in Game 6 of the East championship series.
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"I'm blessed. Very blessed. Very humbled," James said. "And we won't take this opportunity for granted. It's an unbelievable franchise, it's an unbelievable group. And we know we still have work to do, but we won't take this for granted. We're going to four straight Finals and we will never take this for granted."
Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each scored 13 points for Miami, which trailed 9-2 before ripping off 54 of the next 75 points to erase any doubt by halftime. The Heat set a franchise record with their 11th straight home postseason win, going back to the final two games of last season's NBA Finals, leading by 37 at one point.
"The group loves to compete and loves to compete at the highest level, and be pushed to new levels," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.Indiana led the East for much of the regular season, one where the Pacers were fueled by the memory of losing Game 7 of the East finals in Miami a year ago. So they spent this season with a clear goal: Toppling Miami as kings of the East.
The Pacers were two games better in the regular season.
They were two games worse in the postseason. Game 7, this time, would have been in Indianapolis. The Pacers just had no shot of making it happen, not on this night.
"It's bitterly disappointing to fall short of our goals," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It's bitterly disappointing to lose to this team three years in a row. But we're competing against the Michael Jordan of our era, the Chicago Bulls of our era, and you have to tip your hats to them for the way they played this whole series."
Kings of Consistency
The Heat joined some elite company Friday when they advanced to their fourth consecutive Finals. Only three other times in NBA history has a team gone to the Finals that many times in a row.
|--ESPN Stats & Information|
So now, the Celtics and Lakers have some company.
Until Friday, they were the only teams in NBA history to reach the Finals in four straight years. The Heat have joined them, and their quest for a third straight title starts in either San Antonio or Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
"It's all about 15 special men and what they've been able to accomplish these last four years," said Heat managing general partner Micky Arison, who handed the East title trophy to Greg Oden. "Just a little bit more work to do, but I'm really proud of the incredible job that these guys have done."
The way they played in Game 6 made a prophet out of Bosh, who predicted Miami would play its best game of the season. The numbers suggested he was right, and then some.
Miami's largest lead at any point this season, before Game 6, was 36 points. Indiana's largest deficit of the season had been 35 points.
After a layup by James with 3:39 left in the third, the margin in this one was a whopping 37 -- 86-49. James' night ended not long afterward.
"It was just one of those games that we want to play from beginning to end," Bosh said. "Here on our home court, we wanted to make a statement."
There were the now-requisite Stephenson events, adding intrigue to the first half. The Indiana guard walked over to James and tapped him in the face in the opening minutes, stood over him after both got tangled under the basket, and got whistled for a flagrant foul for striking Norris Cole in the head in the second quarter.
It was the end of a memorable series for Stephenson, none of which really had anything to do with basketball. His string of newsworthy moments from these East finals started when he talked about the health of Wade's knees before the series and reached an apex in Game 5 when he blew into James' ear and walked into a Heat huddle.
When it was over, Stephenson went out and shook hands with plenty of Heat players, as did the rest of his teammates.
"To work so hard and to get to where we are now really hurts," Stephenson said.
The Heat were bothered by it all -- "angry," Spoelstra confessed -- but got the last laugh. Big Brother, again, reigned supreme in this rivalry.
Vogel was using the big brother-little brother analogy earlier in the series, telling the tale of how at some point in every sibling rivalry the younger one has to make a stand.
Indiana thought it would happen now.
The Heat, obviously, had other ideas.
"They've won championships," West said Friday when asked if the Pacers considered themselves Miami's equal. "No, we're not equal."
West said those words about eight hours before game time.
They were in no dispute at night's end.
NOTES: James appeared in what became his 100th playoff victory. ... The Pacers are now 7-12 against Miami in the last three postseasons, and 20-10 against everybody else. ... Wade and Udonis Haslem are going to the NBA Finals for the fifth time in nine seasons -- with a 15-67 season on their record during that stretch as well. ... Chris Andersen returned from a thigh injury, scoring nine points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 13 minutes for Miami.
MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: American Airlines Center prior to the game between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat in Game...(Photo by David Dow NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: LeBron James. What's left to say? His dominance continues to transcend the numbers, but they're awesome nonetheless: 25 points on 12 field goal attempts, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and most importantly, a fourth trip to the NBA Finals.
X factor: Rashard Lewis, come on down. Your shooting from behind the arc helped unlock Miami's offense and unleashed a torrent against which the Pacers never stood a chance. Thirteen points in a closeout game of the Eastern Conference finals will do Lewis and the Heat just fine.
That was ... title-worthy: No matter its Western Conference opponent, Miami will have its hands full in the NBA Finals. But in Game 6, the Heat demonstrated just what it takes to finish off a competitive opponent and move on to the game's biggest stage. For now, they wait and rest.
The Heat scored 132.6 points per 100 possessions in Game 6, their most efficient offensive performance in ANY playoff game in the Big 3 era. It was the highest offensive efficiency against the Pacers SINCE 1999 (April 24 vs Nets), over 15 seasons. The Heat have the most efficient offense this postseason of any team, something that has gotten better for them each postseason in the Big 3 era.[+]
Heat Offensive Efficiency
LeBron James and the Heat split two meetings with both the Thunder and Spurs this season, but James averaged 33.5 points per game against Oklahoma City, compared to only 18.5 points per game against San Antonio.[+]
LeBron James This Season
LeBron James didn't let Lance Stephenson get to him in Game 6 as Stephenson took on a bigger role guarding James. James scored 9 of his 15 points against Stephenson on drives in Game 6 (3-3 FG, 3-3 FT) after recording no points off drives against him the first five games (0-2 FG, 1 TO).[+]
The Pacers outscored the Heat by 8 points in the paint in the first five games of the series. In Game 6, the Heat outscored the Pacers by 18 in the paint, shooting 75.8 percent on those shots (25-of-33). What led to the turnaround? The Heat outscored the Pacers 41 to 17 on drives in Game 6. The Heat drove a series-high 39 times in the game after averaging 25 drives in the first five games. By comparison, the Pacers drove only 13 times in Game 6. LeBron James was the catalyst for the Heat's increase in drives, creating 18 points on those plays.[+]
Heat on LeBron James Drives This Series
How will LeBron bounce back from a playoff-career low 7 points in Game 5? LeBron's teams are 0-4 in playoff games after James scored fewer than 15 points in the previous game. His team's have been outscored in each game with him on the court, and he's averaging just over 20 points per game in those contests.[+]
LeBron James Games After Scoring Fewer Than 15 Points
From Elias: The Heat have won 11 consecutive playoff games following a loss. Miami hasn't dropped 2 straight playoff games since the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics (lost 3 straight).
The Pacers are 3-0 in elimination games this postseason, winning Games 6 and 7 against the Hawks in the First Round before Wednesday's victory over the Heat.[+]
Pacers in Elimination Games This Postseason
The Heat's 26-point halftime lead in Game 6 is their largest halftime lead in postseason history (ELIAS) and the second-largest halftime lead in a conference finals game in the last 15 seasons.[+]
Largest Halftime Lead in Conference Finals Game - Last 15 Years
The Conference Finals has featured 7 games in which a team has won by double digits. That's the most since the 1984-85 season (also 7). The record for double digit wins in the Conference Finals is 9, set in 1970-71.
The Heat are 9-0 at home in potential series-clinching games in the James-Wade-Bosh era (since 2010-11 season). LeBron James is averaging 28.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists in those games.[+]
Heat at Home with Chance to Clinch Series - James-Wade-Bosh Era (Since 2010-11 Season)
The Heat have won 10 straight HOME playoff games dating back to Game 2 of the 2013 NBA Finals (tied for the franchise record, set from 2010 to 2011). Miami is 7-0 at home this postseason with an average margin of victory of 10.6 points per game.
ESPN Stats & Information
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