Highlight: LeBron James Game Winning Shot

Previously posted was the shot that Paul George made to send Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to OT (see Crazy Paul George shot forced OT).

This however is the result of that Overtime, where before this play, the Pacers last possession was all but conventional. Down two points, the Pacers lost control of the ball at half-court, resulting in a scramble for possession. Paul George in fact did retain it, launched a deep three ball, and missed.

However, star Dwyane Wade committed one of the most heinous sins in the basketball world, he fouled George on a hailmary-like-three pointer. George made all 3 free throws, no easy accomplishment, and the Heat had 2.6 secs on the clock down by one. Who do they turn to? LeBron James.

While there is some controversy as to whether Lebron traveled or not, the biggest issue with this play comes from the Pacers’ side of the court. Coach Frank Vogel elected to sit Roy Hibbert, the team’s center, for the final play of the game. It would turn out to be a grave mistake. At the end of the video you can see the camera pan over to Hibbert, who can do nothing but shake his head.

Why would you sit your best interior defender against the Heat on the final play? The key to beating the Heat is to prevent penetration, something the Pacers did pretty well earlier in the game, which opens up room for the sharp shooters. Also, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade make their money by driving to the basket. By having Hibbert in the paint, this would have discouraged Lebron from driving or would have resulted in him taking a very difficult shot. Had he taken a jump shot, he would have been covered by Paul George, a tall, lanky, and skilled defender. For a coach who seemed to press all of the right buttons in the previous series, he made a critical error in this series opener.

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