MIAMI, FL (Sporting Alert) — After seeing off the Indiana Pacers in overtime in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference final, the Miami Heat will be looking to take a 2-0 lead when the teams meet in Game 2 at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday night.
The league’s Most Valuable Player, LeBron James finished with a triple-double of 30 points, including the game winning layup at the buzzer – 10 assists and 10 rebounds in the win Wednesday night.
Game 1 victory was a welcoming one for the Heat, but they know they need to find another gear as the series goes on.
“We have to push to get to another level,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was a very competitive game.
“Both teams were laying it all out there but we’re trying to push to another level that we think we can get to—and we’ll need to in this series.
“We have to continue to push forward and evolve. … We have to play better in this series.
“In order to be able to win this series, we have to get to another level,” Spoelstra added.
James also believes that the defending champions can get better.
“We can get better,” he said. “I think both teams didn’t play to the level that they’re capable of playing at in Game 1. But both teams had a chance to win.”
Victory would have been a massive boost for the Indian Pacers, but head coach Frank Vogel, who was widely criticized for benching Roy Hibbert for the final play which James finished off, takes encouragement from his team’s fight.
“Our belief has strengthened,” Vogel said.
Looking ahead of Game 2, Vogel said the team is, “very encouraged. Our belief in our ability to beat this team has strengthened after Game 1.
“Our familiarity in the playoffs, in the playoff series grows with each day, grows with each game, and there’s a lot of things we can definitely do better.”
Meanwhile, starting point guard Mario Chalmers, who picked up a shoulder injury in Game 1 took part in shootaround Friday morning and he is expected to play in Game 2.
Chalmers picked up the injury in the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game and did not return.
For the Pacers, guard George Hill is suffering from a sprained big toe, but the team fully expects him to face Miami.