It was mildly alarming that Paul George didn't make much of an impact offensively, shooting just 4-of-11. After his explosion in Game 4 with 39 points, George was just 9-of-26 shooting over the last two games of the series. With a matchup coming against LeBron James, the Pacers are going to need more from George.
The Heat and Pacers have been sizing each other up for a year since their tight seven-game series in last season's conference finals. Each roster move, whether it was Greg Oden signing in Miami for possible Hibbert matchups or the Pacers revamping their bench after the Heat dominated in that area, was executed with an eye toward a rematch.
Including the playoff matchups over the past two seasons, the Pacers and Heat have squared off 24 times over the past two-plus seasons. During the regular season, in which their leads on everyone else in the conference were so wide, each game had a mini-playoff vibe with several days of buildup. Much of April was a back-and-forth as they traded the No. 1 seed in the conference, the scoreboard watching in full effect.
"There's not a whole lot in terms of X's and O's that either of us don't know about one another," West said. "It's going to come down to the details."
"LeBron has been playing at a high caliber. Chris Bosh has been hitting 3s. We're going to have to come ready for them," Hibbert said. "We know they're a good team."
The Wizards ultimately did not get the type performance they needed from the young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, who combined to shoot 12-of-35 with seven turnovers in Game 6. In the future, those two have potential to advance to a conference finals or two.
The Pacers will not have the experience advantage in the next series, and their margin for error is about to squeeze to a minimum.
When Indiana and Miami first met in training camp, the Pacers set the goal of getting back to face the Heat and to do so from a more advantageous position. The process has been turbulent and their goal is not yet reached, but they headed home late Thursday with a sense of accomplishment.
"Everything is behind us. When we were 33-7 or how we struggled down the stretch and took a lot of criticism, that means nothing," coach Frank Vogel said. "This is where we wanted to be."