Paul George key for Pacers on the road

May, 30, 2013
By ESPN Statistics & Information

Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
While the Indiana Pacers have underperformed on the road this postseason, Paul George has played well away from home.

Heading into Game 5 in Miami on Thursday, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat find themselves tied 2-2 in a playoff series for the second consecutive season. Last season, the Pacers and Heat were tied at two games each in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the Heat won games 5 and 6 to advance to the Conference Finals.

Game 5 will be pivotal for both teams. When a best-of-7 series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 goes on to wins the series 83.4 percent of the time.

Despite winning Game 2 in Miami, the Pacers have underperformed on the road this postseason. They are 3-5 on the road and 7-1 at home.

Paul George will be one of the key players to watch. While the Pacers have underperformed away from home as a team this postseason, George has been hot on the road. In this series, George is averaging 24.5 points per game on the road, compared to 12.5 PPG at home.

George was the one who forced overtime in Game 1 in Miami with 0.7 seconds remaining. Entering that game, George had been 0-of-9 on game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime this season.

George has also performed well against LeBron James. He was 6-of-7 with 16 points when guarded by James in Game 2, and is shooting 62 percent against him in the series.

One aspect of the Pacers’ home form that they will need to bring back to South Beach is their play on the boards. The Pacers grabbed 49 rebounds in Game 4, 19 more than the Heat. According to Elias, that ties Miami’s second-worst rebounding margin in any postseason game in team history. They were outrebounded by 23 against the Bulls in Game 2 of a 1992 playoff series (the second postseason game in Miami’s NBA history) and by 19 by the Bulls in Game 1 in 1997.

Roy Hibbert has been a major factor in the Pacers’ success on the boards. He has had three consecutive games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, a career-high for both regular season and playoffs. In this series Hibbert is averaging 12.0 RPG, compared to 8.0 RPG in three regular-season games against the Heat.

The Heat will need to shake off Game 4 and turn things back around in order to regain the upper-hand. Miami has not lost consecutive games since January 8-10. They are 1-1 at home this series and have not lost two home games in a single playoff series since the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Pacers will need to continue to focus on shutting down LeBron when he is close to the basket. James was 1-of-6 on post-ups in Game 4 after shooting 5-of-9 with 14 points on such plays in Game 3. He was double-teamed on three of his field goal attempts in the post last game, compared to only one attempt in Game 3.



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