Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/13/12
MIAMI -- Indiana center Roy Hibbert called the Pacers before Sunday's game the NBA's "best-kept secret." They're still a secret. Had the Pacers been able to take advantage of Miami big man Chris Bosh's injury in Game 1 of their East semifinal, plenty of folks would be chattering about them. Instead, as is often the case, people ended up talking about Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. When Bosh was lost for the second half with a lower abdominal strain it didn't look good for the Heat. They had been playing lethargically and were down 48-42. Then again, why would anybody sell James and Wade short? James scored 26 of his game-high 32 points and grabbed nine of his season-best 15 rebounds after intermission and Wade had 16 of his 29 points in the second half as the Heat won 95-86 at AmericanAirlines Arena. "We knew that when Chris went down, we got to turn the switch and you become one and two, two and one options," Wade said about him and James. "And we got to be very aggressive." Meanwhile, the Pacers became passive. Despite a big size advantage, they ended up being outrebounded 45-38, including 24-16 in the second half. "We definitely let this one get away," guard Paul George said of his Pacers failing to take advantage of Bosh being out in the second half, when Indiana was outscored 53-38. The Pacers might have another shot to take advantage of it in Tuesday's Game 2. While more will be known after Bosh has an MRI, abdominal strains can linger. Orlando guard J.J. Redick missed the final 17 regular-season games in 2010-11 with one. Bosh, who was off to a great start with 13 points and five rebounds, was hurt with 1:06 left in the first half when he drove past Hibbert to throw down a dunk and came down hard on his left foot. Bosh, who was fouled by Hibbert, remained on the ground for short period. He then hit his free throw for a three-point play to cut Miami's deficit to 48-42. After going back on defense, Bosh made a move and went down again. He was replaced with 43.6 seconds left in the half by Ronny Turiaf, who would start the second half after Bosh was ruled out. "He was in a little bit of pain going into the locker room but we won't know until we get an MRI," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Heat forward Shane Battier spoke to Bosh briefly after the game and said he was "obviously disappointed." James expressed hope it's "nothing too drastic." "Any time a teammate goes down, there's always concern," Wade said. "He just made an unbelievable move. You saw the look on his face and you knew something was wrong there." If Bosh has to miss game time and the Heat is down to the Big Two, James knows how important he and Wade will need to be. "If he is going to be out, I expect for our minutes to go up and, of course, our scoring may have to go up as well," James said. The Heat, though, gained plenty of confidence Sunday with the way they played against the bigger Pacers without Bosh. Reserve centers Turiaf, with four points and three rebounds in 10 minutes, and Joel Anthony, with nine points and seven boards in 24 minutes, proved quite capable Sunday. And that East No. 2 seed the Heat have sure is looking good now. Can you imagine the panic in Miami now if the Heat were facing Boston, which would have been the likely scenario had they moved ahead of Chicago for the No. 1 spot? Instead, the Heat have to be glad they're facing a young Pacers outfit that recently had some ups and downs in a 4-1 win over depleted Orlando for their first playoff series win in seven years. Nevertheless, the Pacers were talking tough before the series. Coach Frank Vogel led the buzz by calling the Heat the "biggest flopping team in the NBA." He was fined 15,000 Saturday by the NBA, and had little comment before Sunday's game on that. "No. It provided some comic relief a little bit," Battier said when asked if Vogel's comment impacted the game at all. But could Bosh's injury impact the Heat? It might not as much if James plays the way he did Sunday after he received his MVP trophy from NBA commissioner David Stern in a pre-game ceremony he concluded by saying, "Gracias, Miami." How good is James? Well, all he had to do was tell himself the Heat needed rebounding due to Bosh's absence. "I made a conscious effort in the second half to rebound the ball even more," said James, who also held Indiana forward Danny Granger to no points in the first half and just seven for the game on 1-of-10 shooting after he had been averaging 21.4 in the postseason. James did so by playing the entire second half. Spoelstra thought about taking him out briefly in the fourth quarter before he had a change of heart and told James, "You just flat out can't get tired." Only the Pacers seemed to wilt in the fourth, when they were outscored 25-16. They shot a disastrous 6-of-21 for 28.6 percent. But Hibbert remains undettered. "We're not going to let them walk all over us," Hibbert said. "We're going to keep fighting." Hibbert, after all, wants the secret to get out about the Pacers. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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