MIAMI (AP) — David West was more than a little disappointed when the Indiana Pacers failed to make a defensive play at the end to win Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
So in Game 2, he made those plays himself. Twice, in fact.
And he victimized the game's best player to make them happen.
LeBron James had two turnovers in the last minute — both when passes that he called "careless" got broken up by West — and the Miami Heat lost both a game and the home-court edge in the series. Roy Hibbert scored a postseason career-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Pacers beat the Heat 97-93 in Game 2 of the East finals on Friday night.
"I made two mistakes tonight that hurt our team," James said. "And that hurt more than anything. I let my teammates down. They expect me to make plays down the stretch and I had the ball with an opportunity to make a couple plays, and I came up short.
"That burns, but the best thing about it is, this isn't college. It's not one loss and you're done. I have another opportunity to get better in Game 3."
James led all scorers with 36 points, but his night will be remembered by the two passes where he tried to find Ray Allen and got denied by West's hands both times.
With Indiana up 95-93, West intercepted a pass that James tried to swing toward Allen with 43 seconds left. Indiana didn't cash in that mistake, instead turning the ball over with a shot-clock violation.
So on the next Miami trip, West denied James — again.
James drove to the right block, spun and tried passing out toward the perimeter. West got his right hand on that pass, knocking it off-course and into the hands of George Hill, then extended his hand skyward.
The Pacers — just as they did in the second-round series last year — knew they were winning Game 2 in Miami. Hill made two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to clinch it, and just like that, the series was tied.
Game 1, Miami won it with James coming through at the end.
Game 2, the Pacers simply took away the MVP's opportunity.
"We've been able to maintain our composure throughout the year," West said. "That's helped us throughout these playoffs and especially in environments like these."
Paul George scored 22 points, Hill added 18 and West finished with 13 for the Pacers, who handed the Heat just their fourth loss in their last 50 games, closed the game on a 13-5 run — and denied one of the game's best playmakers twice in the final moments.
"There's only like one person that's more scarier than that," Hill said, speaking of James. "And that's, you know, God."
The series resumes with Game 3 on Sunday night in Indianapolis.
"It's one of the best basketball games I've ever been a part of," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It wasn't about LeBron making mistakes down the stretch. He played one of the best basketball games I've ever seen anybody play. We were just able to make a couple plays late in the game."
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