Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dwyane Wade helps finish off the Pacers in Game 6.
It's win or go home for the Indiana Pacers.
Playing with their greatest sense of urgency, the Pacers actually establish a nine-point lead after the first quarter, 28-19. Roy Hibbert scores eight in the first 12 minutes of play.
However, they let the Heat back into it with turnovers and missed shots in the second quarter. LeBron James, once again taking advantage of Miami's vaunted pick-and-roll, scores 18 first-half points. Dwyane Wade is not far behind with 15 of his own, giving Lance Stephenson fits on defense.
Hibbert's offense is stymied and finishes the first half with 10 points. Paul George picks up the slack with 15. D.J. Augustin contributes two three-pointers off the Indiana bench (which has largely been non-existent in this series) in the first 24 minutes. Indiana by one, 50-49.
As the third quarter unfolds, LeBron James continues to go on a tear as he scores eight points to bring his scoring total up to 26. The Pacers are still having problems defending the pick-and-roll in spite of Paul George covering the reigning MVP. David West comes to life with seven points and five rebounds in the period. The Heat lead by only two, 79-77.
When the fourth quarter begins, Stephenson hits a three-pointer to give the Pacers back the lead. Paul George makes one of his own to give them more breathing room at 83-79.
However, the Heat go on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good. They go on an outside shooting spree of their own with James, Wade and Mario Chalmers all chipping in. Miami builds its lead to seven with only three minutes left to play. They melt the clock in the ensuing possessions to prevent the Pacers from mounting a comeback.
Final score: Heat 103, Pacers 99. Miami wins the series in six games.
The duo of James and Wade prove to be too much for Indiana to handle, as it did in last season's second-round playoff series. The Heat, with too much championship experience and firepower, move on to their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance.
The Pacers feel the sting of this loss. However, with their progress in the playoffs over the past three seasons, they are poised to make another run at the championship next year with a healthy Danny Granger in tow.
Heat 4, Pacers 2