After a gruelling and physical playoff series, the Miami Heat will once again advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. They overcame the determined effort of the Indiana Pacers, led by the stellar play of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, in a 105-93 victory.
Wade had his best game of the playoffs thus far, contributing 41 points and 10 rebounds on a spectacular 17 for 25 shooting. If his 20-point second quarter wasn’t enough, Wade helped send the Pacers packing by scoring nine points over the final five minutes of the game. James chipped in with his usual all-around effort of 28 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three steals and just one turnover in 45 minutes of play.
Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller were the only other two players to score in double-digits for Miami, with 15 and 12 respectively. The duo combined to shoot 7 for 11 from three-point range, torching Indiana’s perimeter defense.
Indiana put up a fight, but came out flat in the third quarter. Their 6 for 16 shooting for the quarter allowed Miami take the lead for good, outscoring the Pacers 52 to 40 in the second half.
All five of Indiana’s starters reached double-digit scoring, led by David West’s 24 points and five rebounds, doing damage to the Heat’s thin front-line. George Hill had 18, while Danny Granger and Paul George added 15 and 11 respectively. Roy Hibbert contributed 12 points and eight rebounds, but looked lost on defense.
Wade’s continual attack into the paint was too much for the big man out of Georgetown, nailing him with floaters and distorted lay-ups in the paint, highlighted by this spectacular adjustment. If Hibbert wasn’t left back pedaling as Wade attacked the rim over and over, he was left in the dust as Wade split one pick-and-roll defense after another.