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Heat surge past Pacers for 2-1 series lead

Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James and Dwyane Wade fueled Miami's strong third quarter and Ray Allen's sharp-shooting helped hold Indiana at bay in the fourth, as the Heat seized control of the Eastern Conference finals with a 99-87 triumph over the Pacers in Game 3 at American Airlines Arena.

The Heat trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and didn't take their first lead until midway through the third, when James capped an 8-0 burst with a two-handed, fastbreak dunk for a 52-51 advantage.

James and Wade combined for 22 points in the third -- the same amount as the Pacers -- to help the Heat take a 71-64 spread into the fourth.

Indiana got as close as two in the final frame before Allen took over, draining all four of his 3-point tries en route to 16 points as the Heat pulled away down the stretch to take a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.

"This team has proven to be resilient," Allen said of his team battling back despite trailing by double digits. "In bad situations we pick it back up."

James finished with 26 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals, while Wade added 23 points, four boards and four assists for the Heat, who improved to 6-0 at home this postseason.

Paul George, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of Indiana's 87-83 loss in Game 2, supplied 17 points and Roy Hibbert tallied 16 points for the Pacers, who had won five straight road games.

"It's very early in the series," Indiana head coach Frank Vogel said. "They came back, they took care of their homecourt. We gotta try to come out and get Game 4."

Vogel's squad will get the chance to do just that Monday night in Miami.

Indiana took advantage of a sluggish start from Miami and stifled the Heat for much of the opening frame, forcing seven turnovers and holding the home team to 6-of-16 shooting from the floor over the first 12 minutes.

Miami trailed 19-5 with 2:42 left in the first before Shane Battier buried a right corner 3-pointer to spark a 9-2 quarter-closing run that got the Heat within 21-14 heading into the second.

With the margin at seven following a Chris Bosh triple early in the second, Luis Scola supplied back-to-back buckets to spark a 10-2 burst that Rasual Butler capped with a trey for a 37-22 cushion with 6:22 on the clock.

The Heat clamped down defensively from there, holding Indiana without a field goal over the next five-plus minutes to claw their way back into the game.

James scored six points in the ensuing 14-3 Miami run, which Wade capped with a bucket to bring the Heat within 40-36 with 49.3 seconds on the clock.

Lance Stephenson muscled in a layup at the other end to quell Indiana's field- goal drought, but Wade responded with another short jumper to send his squad into the break trailing by just four, 42-38.

"We had no choice but to re-gather," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team falling behind by double digits. "It was good to see us bounce back in the second quarter and show some toughness."

George Hill scored five straight Indiana points to push the lead to 51-44 three minutes into the third before Wade drained a driving layup to spark an 8-0 burst that James capped with a fastbreak flush for a 52-51 edge.

Over the next few minutes, the lead changed hands eight times, with the final one coming when Allen hit three free throws for a 62-61 advantage.

Norris Cole followed with a reverse layup, and after David West drilled a jumper, James connected on a right wing triple for a 67-63 lead.

After James and Ian Mahinmi each went 1-of-2 from the line, Wade capped Miami's strong third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 71-64 after three.

Wade opened the fourth with another trey to push the spread to 10, but George scored eight points in a 10-2 Indiana burst to pull the Pacers within 76-74.

Allen caught fire from there, nailing three 3-pointers in a 3:23-span to help the Heat create a 90-79 advantage.

Allen's fourth triple of the frame made it 97-82 with 2:50 to play and Miami cruised the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Miami's 14 first-quarter points tied for the fewest in the first quarter all season ... The Pacers entered the game 5-1 following a loss this postseason ... The Heat have won nine straight playoff games at home dating back to last season ... Miami improved to 10-0 this postseason when holding opponents to under 100 points ... West supplied 13 points, while Stephenson scored 10 points and grabbed 11 boards in the setback... Indiana went 6-of-21 from 3- point range, while Miami shot 10-of-18 from long distance.

05/25 00:41:46 ET

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