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James, Wade dominate down the stretch to help Heat even series
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Miami's two biggest stars shined brightest when it mattered most.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored or assisted on the final 33 points and the Heat rallied for an 87-83 win over Indiana in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Wade shot an efficient 10-for-16 en route to a team-high 23 points, while James tacked on 22 with seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots in the triumph. Norris Cole and Chris Andersen did their part as well, contributing 11 points and 12 rebounds, respectively, off the bench.
Miami trailed 73-69 following Paul George's deep 3-ball at 7:19 of the fourth, but James netted nine straight Miami points during a 13-2 run. Wade then followed James' missed layup with a tip-slam, and padded the cushion with a short jumper. The late flurry all but sealed the margin for the Heat.
"I needed to do something in the fourth," said James. "I needed to make a few buckets to help us in the fourth quarter and I was able to come through for us."
Trailing by seven in the final moments, George Hill hit a 3-pointer and Miami turned the ball over trying to inbound following a timeout. Unable to stop the clock without any timeouts of their own, all the Pacers could muster was a deep Lance Stephenson triple, which fell well short as the buzzer sounded.
Miami evened this best-of-seven set at a game apiece. Both teams will have plenty of time to rest before the series resumes Saturday in Miami.
Lance Stephenson scored 25 points to lead Indiana, which failed to build off of its impressive Game 1 win and hold homecourt advantage. Roy Hibbert had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
All five Indiana starters scored double figures for the second straight game while once again James and Wade were the lone Heat starters to crack double digits, but Miami's reserves outscored their counterparts, 20-9.
After leading wire-to-wire in Game 1, Indiana came out of the gate hot again on Tuesday. The Pacers trailed for a total of 40 seconds in the opening stanza and claimed an 18-10 lead midway through following a George transition layup.
Indiana went cold for the rest of the half, however, netting just 19 more points over the next 17 minutes.
"We're very confident because of our defense," said Wade.
Neither team shot well in the second quarter, but Ray Allen's corner 3 ignited an 8-0 Heat run, breaking a 33-33 tie and sending the visitors into halftime on top. Indiana had momentum going into the break though.
Hibbert made two free throws near the 30 second mark to end the surge, and Miami made a mental mistake in the final second. With 0.1 remaining on the clock, Stephenson dashed to the rim and tapped in a lob, then embraced fans sitting courtside before leading his Pacers into the locker room trailing 41-37.
The Pacers carried the momentum into the third. Hill hit a triple from the right corner at 9:18, Stephenson converted an acrobatic alley-oop layup and David West got a short runner to go to propel Indy back in front, 47-45.
Stephenson had an extra pep in his step in the third quarter, energizing the crowd as well as his teammates. He followed his driving, one-handed jam by knifing through the defense and dropping a pass off to West for an open jumper. West then found Stephenson for a layup plus a foul and just for good measure, the Cincinnati product drilled a 28-foot triple from the left wing to put Indiana up by six at 2:59.
But it was all Miami the rest of the way. James assisted on back-to-back 3s by Chris Bosh and Cole to draw Miami back within a point heading into the fourth.
A scramble for a loose ball midway through the final period led to a collision between Wade and George. Wade tripped over George, incidentally kneeing and kicking George in the head on his way to the ground.
"I blacked out as soon as it happened," said George. "However much time was remaining, I was just blurry."
Both players got up and finished the game. George did not attempt a shot after the incident, missing 1-of-2 from the stripe with a turnover.
Miami's win breaks a string of eight straight games in which the home team has won in this rivalry ... Indiana's C.J. Watson went scoreless after dropping 11 points in Game 1 ... There were 21 lead changes and seven ties.
05/21 02:09:41 ET
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