Heat roll over Pacers to lead NBA series
Miami got their swagger back as they easily beat Indiana 115-83 in game five on Tuesday to take a 3-2 lead in their NBA Eastern Conference series.
LeBron James scored 30 points and Dwyane Wade had 28 points for the Heat who can wrap up their best-of-seven series with a win in game six on Thursday in Indianapolis.
“I felt good today,” Wade said. “I just let the game come to me. It is good for me to get two good games in a row.”
League MVP James also had 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Heat as he and Wade combined for 27 points in the first half to put the Heat up 49-40 going into the third quarter.
Forward Shane Battier also scored 13 points for the Heat who shot a franchise playoff record 61.4 per cent from the field.
“Shane came out very aggressive,” Wade said. “When the ball starts going down for him, you know it’s a great day because it keeps the floor spread.”
Tuesday’s game got physical with each team receiving a flagrant foul in the second quarter. In the last minute of the game Indiana’s Lance Stephenson took a hard elbow to the face area from Miami reserve player Dexter Pittman, who was given a flagrant foul penalty.
Stephenson upset the Heat earlier in the series when he was caught on camera giving James the choke sign after the Heat star missed two key free throws in Indiana’s game three victory.
Second-seeded Miami have now won two straight in the series and they did it without all-star big man Chris Bosh who suffered a strained abdominal muscle in game one.
“We wanted to come in with much better energy and focus,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
“A lot of good things tonight, but we have to focus on the next one.”
Paul George had a team-high 11 points and Roy Hibbert finished with eight points and 12 rebounds for the third-seeded Pacers who got a scare when Danny Granger went down with an ankle injury in the third and did not return.
“We learned early in this series, you don’t get two wins for a blowout,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
Miami are now clear favourites to come out of the East with the Chicago Bulls already eliminated.
Miami won three of the four from Indiana in the regular season. The only other post-season meeting between the Pacers and Heat was eight years ago in the East semi-finals with Indiana winning in six.© AFP 2013
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