MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Indiana Pacers spent the entire season focused on finishing with the first seed in the Eastern Conference so that Game 7 of the conference finals would be played on their home floor. Well it would’ve been…if they had gotten that far.
The Miami Heat saw to it that the Pacers would get no further then Game 6 in Miami.
The Heat defeated Indiana 117-92, ending the Pacers season in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second year in a row.
The Heat now advances to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, becoming only the fourth team in league history to achieve that mark.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh led the Heat with 25 points apiece while Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each added 13 points of their own. James came out very aggressive in Game 6, getting to the foul line nine times and making every one of his free throws.
“I’m blessed. Very blessed. Very humbled,” said LeBron following the game. “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.”
Miami fell behind early, trailing 9-2 in the opening minutes of the game. That would be the last time the Heat trailed on Friday, outscoring the Pacers 58-25 through the rest of the first half.
“It was just one of those games that we always want to play, from beginning to end, here on our home court,” Chris Bosh said following the game. “We wanted to make a statement.”
Making a statement is exactly what they did, leading the Pacers by 37 points at one point of the game. It was the largest lead that the Heat held over an opponent at any point this season, the previous high being 36.
The number also holds significance for Indiana, as their largest deficit of the season had been 35. Miami reached its highest point of the season while taking the Pacers to its lowest.
The Heat is beginning to play its best basketball of the season, and the timing couldn’t be better. They get to sit back and wait to see who their opponent in the NBA Finals will be.
Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals is set for Saturday night in Oklahoma City between the Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs lead the series three games to two. So far, the home team has won every game in the series.
Regardless of how deep the west finals go, Game 1 of the NBA Finals is already slated for Thursday, June 5th. The game will be hosted by whichever team comes out of the west. Either way, it will be a recent Finals rematch for both teams.
Miami beat the Thunder 4-1 in the 2012 Finals before taking down the Spurs in seven games during the 2013 Finals. Both team assuredly have been keeping an eye on the east and the Heat put both teams on notice with the way they dismantled the Pacers on Friday night.