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(Sunday, May 26th)
Final Score: Miami 114, Indiana 96
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat raced out and stayed ahead on the day the Indiana Pacers honored the Indianapolis 500.
LeBron James led the way in Miami's playoff franchise-record 70-point first half, and the Heat pulled away to down the Pacers, 114-96, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
After two closely contested battles in Miami, the Heat used crisp-and-clean ball movement to jump out to a 14-point first-half lead on 62.8 percent shooting (27-of-43). James netted 18 points on a 7-of-11 clip from the field in the opening 24 minutes.
Udonis Haslem added 13 first-half points on 6-of-7 from the floor, while Chris Bosh poured in 12 and Dwyane Wade chipped in 10 before Miami headed into the locker room.
"Defensively we didn't come out aggressive," Indiana center Roy Hibbert said of the first half.
The Heat, who took a 2-1 series edge, stayed unbeaten on the road during the postseason while handing the Pacers their first home playoff loss.
"This is a great group of guys who love the pressure moments. They took our homecourt away and we had to come get it back," James said.
Indiana, which will host Game 4 on Tuesday, checkered Bankers Life Fieldhouse with white and navy blue shirts.
James finished with 22 points total for Miami, which held a commanding 52-36 points in the paint edge and committed a playoff franchise-low five turnovers. Wade recorded 18 points and eight assists in the triumph.
"We already have to put this behind us and start getting ready for the next challenge, the next battle, which is Game 4," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Hibbert had 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Pacers, who had a 2-1 series lead in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat before dropping three straight.
David West registered 21 points and 10 boards in defeat. Paul George had 13 points on just 3-of-10 shooting to go along with eight assists.
Indiana trailed 70-56 at the break, but used an 11-2 run to begin the third to whittle the deficit to seven. George nailed a triple, George Hill converted a three-point play and Lance Stephenson split a pair of foul shots to get the Pacers within 74-67.
Mario Chalmers, though, deposited five points during a 9-1 Miami spurt late in the frame to put the visitors back in control, 87-72, before taking a 91-76 cushion into the fourth.
The Head led by as many as 21 in the final frame.
"If you're not perfect guarding them, they'll do what they did to us tonight," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said.
Both teams scorched the nets at the start, but an 8-0 Miami flurry that bled into the second quarter put the defending champs up for good.
After James sunk a pair of foul shots and finished off a dunk in transition to give the Heat a 34-30 edge after a period of play, he banked home a hook shot and Shane Battier made two from the stripe to conclude the burst and make it 38-30.
The Heat shot 54.5 percent (42-of-77) from the field and was 24-of-28 from the charity stripe ... Miami had 21 assists ... Chalmers had 14 points ... Indiana shot 39.7 percent (29-of-73) from the floor.
05/27 00:41:20 ET
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