NBA

LeBron James scores game-winner to beat Pacers

The winning lay-up (©GettyImages)
The winning lay-up (©GettyImages).

LeBron James scored the game-winning points to snatch Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The reigning MVP drove through the paint to nail a lay-up as time expired to win the game 103-102, giving the Miami Heat a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-seven series.

The final-second shot capped a triple-double performance from James, as he scored 30 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and provided 10 assists on a monster night for the star forward.

"Two teams fought hard," James told ESPN. "We were able to make one more play."

Pacers star Paul George took the game to overtime with a 32-foot three-pointer that levelled the scores with just 0.7 seconds remaining. 

And George thought he had won it for his side when he made three free throws following a Dwayne Wade foul to put the Pacers up one with 2.2 seconds left in overtime.

But he was culpable on the final play, as he let James drive past him to hit the game-winning shot, although questions were asked of Pacers coach Frank Vogel after the game as to why shot-blocking star Roy Hibbert had been benched for the critical play.

Without the 7-foot-2-inch Hibbert to protect the rim, James had an easy ride to roll home the lay-up, taking Game 1 in what is sure to be a keenly contested series between two foes that really don't get along.

The Heat and Pacers stay in Miami for Game 2 on Friday night, before heading back to Indiana for Games 3 and 4.

"Welcome to the Eastern Conference Finals," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "Back and forth the whole way."

Wade added 19 points for the Heat, Chris Andersen was superb with 16 points on a perfect 7-from-7 shooting night, while Chris Bosh had 17.

George top scored for the Pacers with 27.

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