Miami turn up the Heat vs Pacers in Game Three of NBA playoffs
NBA champions Miami bounced back with a vengeance on Sunday, racing to an early lead and rolling to a 114-96 victory over Indiana in Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals
The Heat, stung by a game-two defeat on their home floor on Friday, struck back to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The winners will advance to the NBA finals to take on either San Antonio or Memphis for the league crown.
NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James led the Heat with 22 points. He scored 18 in the first half as Miami, connecting on 63 percent of their shots from the floor in the half, jumped to a 70-56 lead at the break.
The Heat shot 54.5 percent for the game, connecting on 42-of-77 shots in an impressive offensive performance against the league’s best defensive team.
All five Miami starters scored in double figures. Dwyane Wade added 18 and eight assists and Udonis Haslem, who had scored just three points in the first two games of the series, added 17 and seven rebounds.
Chris Bosh scored 15 and Mario Chalmers poured in 14 as the Heat remained unbeaten on the road in this post-season and handed the Pacers their first home defeat of this playoff campaign. The Pacers will try to even the series when they host Game Four today.
After a Game Two defeat in which their 15 turnovers included two by James in the final minute, the Heat committed just five turnovers.
Roy Hibbert had 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Pacers. David West notched 21 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat, while Paul George had 13 points on just 3-of-10 shooting to go with eight assists.
Twice in the third quarter Indiana trimmed the deficit to seven points.
But after Hibbert’s three-point play pulled the Pacers within 78-71 with 5:45 remaining in the period, the Heat put together a 9-1 run that included five points from Chalmers and a slam dunk by Wade that stretched Miami’s lead to 87-72.
The Heat took a 91-76 edge into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 21 in the final period.