INDIANAPOLIS: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 45 points as the Miami Heat rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) and even their NBA playoff series at 1-1.
James and Wade scored or assisted on the last 33 points for the Heat who re-grouped from an embarrassing 107-96 loss in Sunday’s game one of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series.
Wade said he had great chemistry with James on Tuesday night.
“What we envisioned coming in here is having two guys who are able to be dynamic. We just make plays that feel right,” Wade said. “I always know where number six is on the floor. Him touching the ball, or me touching the ball, is the best thing for our team,” Wade said.
Wade shot 10-for-16 en route to a team-high 23 points, while James tallied 22 with seven rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. Norris Cole came off the bench to score 11 points.
“We are never satisfied until we close out a series,” James said. “Even though we played a great game I feel we still have some things to cover.”
Both teams will have time to relax before the series resumes Saturday in Miami.
Paul George tallied 24 points and seven assists while Roy Hibbert and David West each scored 19 points for the Pacers who are 4-5 at home in the postseason. George Hill shot a disappointing three-of-nine for 15 points in the loss.
Miami trailed 75-72 following Hibbert’s hook shot at 5:33, but James answered with six consecutive points. Wade then followed James’ missed layup with a tip in, and extended the lead with a jump shot. The 10-0 surge by the Heat all but sealed the win.
Trailing by seven in the final moments, George Hill hit a three-pointer and Miami turned the ball over trying to inbound following a timeout.
But all Indiana could come up with was a deep Lance Stephenson triple, which fell well short as the buzzer sounded.
“It is not demoralizing. We know they [James and Wade] are great, great players. We just have to respond,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
The Heat avoided going down 2-0 in a playoff series something that has never happened since the Big Three of James, Wade and Chris Bosh hooked up in south Florida.