Here's something you don't hear very often: LeBron got owned last night. At least for a play.
King James put up 38 points in the Heat's 84-83 loss to the Pacers yesterday. But all anyone is talking about this morning is Paul George: In the fourth quarter, George took the rock from under his own basket, hit the arc in the offensive zone, drove to the net, and put up a nasty dunk — right over James.
It was a huge play, not just because of who got dunked on. It absolutely electrified the crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, not to mention pumped up the Pacers, who were scratching away at the Heat's thin lead:
Last night's win was huge for the Pacers. Indiana clinched the Central Division title, but more importantly the team got a little breathing room in the playoff standings. The Pacers are clinging to the top spot in the East, and the W gives them a three-game lead over the Heat in the conference. And with Miami holding two games in hand on Indiana — the Pacers have 10 games remaining, the Heat have 12 — the Pacers could not afford to drop last night's game. (Even though they lost, the Heat also clinched the Southeast Division.)
These teams don't like each other much. Last season, Miami knocked Indiana out of the playoffs in an epic seven-game Eastern Conference Finals that left the Pacers stinging. "We've been thinking about them since the summer," Pacers forward David West said yesterday. And last night's game was rough. LeBron caught Roy Hibbert in the face with elbow, which left him bloody and woozy. The Pacers played the Heat hard, especially in the defensive zone, and might have been engaging in a little extra-curricular activity. "Our guys are getting punched in the face and clothes-lined," Heat star Chris Bosh said. "We can an offensive foul called. I don't feel they were going for the ball."
This sets up one last meeting between the teams: Friday, April 11, in Miami. Circle that date. It could be the most physical, emotional game of the season. And no one will want to miss it.
Update: Paul George was mic'ed up during the game, which means we can hear him in the act of dunking!
Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images