MIAMI – If the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals were any indication, this Pacers and Heat series would be filled with little finesse.
Knock-down, grind-out games may seem like a tired saying, but it’s gonna fit this best-of-seven game series perfectly whether it lasts five, six or seven games.
But in the end on Saturday night it was Miami’s well-timed push of offensive and defensive intensity that proved to be too much for the Pacers. Once again LeBron James and Dwyane Wade led the Heat on a run to pick up the victory over Indiana to take a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 will be played on Monday night at American Airlines Arena with an opening tip at 8:30 p.m.
James had a game-high 26 points while Wade had 23 as the Heat were able to erase a 15-point first Pacers lead by outscoring their opponent 65-45 in the second half for the victory. Only a few days removed from a concussion, Paul George finished with a team-high 17 points while Roy Hibbert added 16.
Facing a bit of adversity with the unknown status of Paul George before the game due to a concussion suffered in Game 2, the Pacers played a solid opening twelve minutes. With their defense stifling the Heat, the Pacers were able to jump out to a 21-14 lead after one quarter.
The bench kept some of that momentum going early in as three consecutive buckets by Luis Scola helped the Pacers build a ten-point lead. But behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the Heat were able to slice into the lead by the end of the quarter.
Wade’s jumper with 19 seconds to go in the half cut the Pacers’ lead to four at the break.
Miami would finally grab their first lead of the game just over four minutes into the second half when James’ dunk put the Heat up 52-51. They would ride that momentum into the end of the quarter and a three-pointer by Wade with a second left in the third quarter put the Heat up by 7.
The Pacers tried to cut into the lead and got it to two points on a pair of occasions, but the Heat pulled away with seven minutes to go.