Miami wins series 4-2 (Game 3 of 6)

Miami wins series 4-2

Game 1: Sunday, May 18th
Game 2: Tuesday, May 20th
Game 3: Saturday, May 24th
Game 4: Monday, May 26th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 28th
Game 6: Friday, May 30th

Pacers 87

(56-26, 21-20 away)

Heat 99

(54-28, 32-9 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:30 PM ET, May 24, 2014

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 21 21 22 2387
    MIA 14 24 33 2899

    Top Performers

    Ind: L. Stephenson 10 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

    Mia: L. James 26 Pts, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    Ray Allen hits 4 3-pointers in 4th as Heat rally past Pacers for 2-1 lead

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- Down by 15 early, the Miami Heat could have hit the panic button.

    Instead, they found a way to move within two wins of another trip to the NBA Finals.

    LeBron James scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade added 23 and the Heat shook off a horrid start to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-87 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, taking a 2-1 lead and breaking a back-and-forth trend in the rivalry. The teams had alternated wins and losses in 13 straight meetings -- until now.

    Miami trailed 37-22 before outscoring Indiana 77-50 the rest of the way.

    "A lot of our situations that we've been through where we've struggled have been against this team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's what they do to you. They're very good. It's a function of their defense.

    "But we had no choice but try to re-gather."

    That they did.

    And then some.

    Ray Allen added all 16 points in the second half to lead a late-game charge for the Heat, who will host Game 4 on Monday night. And it was the second time this season the Heat rallied from 15 points down to beat the Pacers in Miami -- it also happened on Dec. 18.

    "Tough loss for our guys," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Thought we competed pretty well, came out of the gates really strong, got off to a good start and then didn't manage our foul trouble well and didn't manage picking up their defensive intensity well."

    It's the third straight series where the Pacers have faced a deficit.

    "A ton," Vogel said when asked how much resiliency the Pacers have left. "It's very early in the series."

    Paul George scored 17 points for Indiana, shooting 5 for 13 in his return after being concussed late in Game 2. Roy Hibbert had 16 points and David West added 13 for the Pacers, who never trailed until early in the third quarter.

    Miami started the game 2 for 10 from the floor. The Heat then made 21 of their next 31 shots, including eight straight in the third that gave the two-time defending NBA champions their first lead.

    James' dunk with 7:36 remaining in the third put Miami up 52-51. That was the first of nine lead changes in the quarter, before the Heat did what Spoelstra implored his team to do in a pregame locker room address.

    "Impose our identity," Spoelstra said.

    Eventually, the message reached the Heat, and their two best players led the way.

    James' 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the third put Miami up 67-63, then its biggest lead of the night. Wade subbed in for James with 5.7 seconds left because the four-time MVP was dealing with what appeared to be a hamstring cramp and connected on a 3-pointer with 1.4 ticks remaining for a 74-67 lead going into the fourth.

    James retreated toward the locker room at that point, stopping halfway down the hallway known as "Championship Alley" while trainer Mike Mancias stretched him out. Meanwhile, Wade -- not exactly known for behind-the-arc prowess -- opened the fourth quarter with another 3, the Heat were up 10 and the floodgates were opening.

    "I wasn't going to leave until I saw what he was going to do," said James, who watched the first of those 3s by Wade before departing for treatment.

    Added Wade: "I can shoot the 3 ball. I just decide not to."

    Indiana got to 76-74 before Allen made a 3-pointer, and with that, the tone was set for the final minutes. Allen made three 3s in the final 5:59, the last putting Miami up by 15.

    "I think we need to stick to what we do," West said. "We got away from ourselves. We tried to make some stuff on the fly, which is not us."

    The halftime score looked ugly: Pacers 42, Heat 38.

    That didn't even come close to describing how much Miami struggled at times. Here's one example: After 11 minutes, it was Hibbert 10, Heat 10.

    Indiana led 19-5 early and 37-22 midway through the second. Luis Scola scored eight points off the bench in less than three minutes, and the Pacers were rolling.

    Or at least, looked like they were rolling.

    In the final 6:22 of the half, they had more turnovers (six) than points (five). And Miami took advantage, especially after George went to the bench with his third foul. Wade and James combined for 14 of Miami's final 18 points in the second, and a pair of short shots by Wade in the final minute helped pull the Heat within four at the break.

    Second half, different story. Indiana scored 45 points. James, Wade and Allen combined for 47 themselves.

    "When they made a run," Lance Stephenson said, "we never responded."

    Game notes

    Commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance, posing with plenty of fans for photos. ... Stephenson had nine rebounds by halftime. The Heat, in total, had 11. ... Heat F Shane Battier, announced earlier in the day as the winner of the league's Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award, got his trophy in a pregame ceremony from 2013 recipient Chauncey Billups. ... Greg Oden was active for Miami for the first time since Game 4 of the opening round.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Rashard Lewis played 17 minutes off the bench, mostly due to Chris Bosh's foul trouble. With Lewis on the court, the Heat outscored the Pacers by 21 points.

    Lewis also played stout defense on David West, forcing three turnovers and limiting him to 1-of-3 shooting. West shot 4-of-5 and committed two turnovers against all other defenders.
    Heat outscored the Pacers 16-to-6 in transition Saturday, the most such points the Heat scored against the Pacers this playoffs. Twelve of the Heat's 16 transition points came in the second half.
    The Heat may have stumbled upon an effective small ball lineup in Game 3 against the Pacers. The lineup of James-Wade-Allen-Cole-Bosh shared the court for less than a minute in Games 1 and 2 but torched the Pacers for 23 points in just 8 minutes of play while hitting 4-of-6 threes against the spaced out Indiana defense. It's not a usual Miami lineup, as the group played together for just 48 minutes during the regular season, outscoring opponents by 10.
    The Pacers shot 12-of-36 on jump shots Saturday, including 6-of-20 (30%) on uncontested jumpers, their worst in a game this playoffs. Pacers' quintet of Paul George, George Hill, Lance Stephenson, C.J. Watson, Rasual Butler were combined 1-of-12 on such jumpers.
    The Heat finished with their highest offensive efficiency (116.1) in their seven games against the Pacers this season (inc. playoffs).

    The Heat posted an effective field goal percentage of 69% in the second half after having a 53% effective field goal percentage in the first half.
    The Pacers have won 5 straight road playoff games. Only 4 teams in NBA history have won 6+ consecutive road games within a single postseason - and all 4 won the NBA title.
    The Pacers have won 5 straight road playoff games. They are 5-1 on the road this postseason compared to just 4-5 at home.
    With the discussion of what Paul George means to the Pacers in the postseason and the possibility he may not be available for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in is just how valuable he has been to Indiana's postseason run...
    Clutch time is defined as the final 5 minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime when the score is within 5 points either way. Miami has played 14 clutch-time minutes this postseason and has been dominant, outscoring opponents 41-17. The Heat have clamped down on the defensive end in those situations, holding opponents to just 20.8 percent from the floor (5-24).
    As the Heat continue on their quest to 3-peat, the mileage is adding up for LeBron. James and OKC's Kevin Durant have each logged around 14,700 minutes over the last 4 seasons - including both the playoffs and the 2012 Olympics. Chris Bosh is the only other player to hit the 12,000 minute mark - and he's played around 2,500 minutes fewer than both James and Durant. That 2,500 minute difference is equivalent to an entire extra season for many players (only 48 players in the NBA totaled 2,500+ minutes this past regular season).
    The Pacers have shown an ability to bounce back as they have posted a 5-0 record in games following a loss this postseason.
    The Pacers starting lineup of George Hill, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, David West and Roy Hibbert has played 57 out of a possible 96 minutes together this series. During that span, they are outscoring the Heat by 23 points. With any other lineup combination, the Pacers have been outscored by 16 points.

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