Miami Heat: LeBron's Near Triple-Double Leads Miami to Dominant Win over Pacers

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIFebruary 14, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 15:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball during the NBA game against the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse on February 15, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.   The Heat won 110-103.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

LeBron totaled 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists on Tuesday night in only 33 minutes, leading the Miami Heat to a big-time road win against the 17-11 Indiana Pacers.

The Miami Heat have now won three games in a row, with those three most recent wins coming as a result of an increased tenacity and intensity on the defensive side of the ball.

As a team, Miami held the Pacers to 43.4 percent shooting from the field, and just 13.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

What's even more impressive is that Miami managed to hold the Pacers to only six fast break points for the entirety of Tuesday night's matchup.

The Heat have looked like a brand new team in their last three matchups, playing with an increased level of energy and efficiency against the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers.

At the foundation of the Heat's new-look style of play is an increased focus on isolation defense in addition to abandoning the consistent help-side defense that plagued them throughout the first 25 games of the NBA season.

Before Tuesday night the Heat's new-look defensive proved too much to handle for the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks, but those teams both lacked a true presence in the paint.

The Indiana Pacers, though, proved to be the Heat's first challenge in the paint, with power forward David West and All-Star center Roy Hibbert.

The Heat handled what the Pacers threw at them in the paint with poise, ease and dominance, holding the Pacers to only 44 points in the paint.

What's even more impressive is that the Heat's front court of Chris Bosh and Joel Anthony managed to hold David West and 7-footer Roy Hibbert to only 24 points combined, on 9-of-22 shooting from the field.

In addition to locking down the Pacers' big men in the paint, they also managed to contain the Pacers perimeter offense, holding Indiana to only 13.3 percent shooting from the field on the night.

The Heat put the Pacers on lock-down by controlling the pace of the game, forcing Indiana to play at a pace that they weren't used to, which showed in their inability to run with the transition-minded Miami Heat.

It didn't hurt either that Miami's offense, led by the big three and an impressive performance from Norris Cole, out manned the Pacers inept defensive performance, running out to a 90-58 lead by the end of the third quarter.

No matter how you look at the Heat's impressive performance against the Indiana Pacers, the one takeaway from the game is that Miami is starting to put together complete performances on a consistent basis, which is very dangerous for the other 29 teams in the NBA.

While the Indiana Pacers aren't on the same level as teams like the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder or the Orlando Magic, there's no debating the fact that Miami's newly focused isolation defense and increased offensive intensity is transforming them into a different team.

INDIANAPOLIS - FEBRUARY 15:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball during the NBA game against the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse on February 15, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.   The Heat won 110-103.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackn
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If the Heat can managed to maintain their increased level of efficiency that they've been playing with in their past few games, there's no telling how dominant of a team they can be.

Next up on the Heat's schedule is a Friday night matchup with LeBron's former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If the Heat can come out of Cleveland with a win, they'll end a five-game road trip on a five-game winning streak, which is an impressive feat no matter what kind of talent is on the court.

Can LeBron and company extend their four-game winning streak to five games, with a win against the Cleveland LeBron Haters?

Survey says—yes.