The Miami Heat cruised past the Indiana Pacers 114-96 in what Dwyane Wade said was the team’s best game of the National Basketball Association postseason.
LeBron James scored 22 points and Wade added 18 for the Heat, who scored 70 first-half points on 63 percent shooting last night to quiet the home crowd in Indianapolis and rebound from a Game 2 loss in Miami.
The defending NBA champions finished with five turnovers, a franchise record-low for the playoffs, and never let the Pacers get closer than seven points during the second half. With the victory, Miami seized a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.
“We understand ups and downs,” Wade said in a televised interview. “We just had to play better. In the first two games, we didn’t play well at all. We were lucky to win the first one and this was our best game of the playoffs.”
The Heat won the opening game of the series 103-102 in overtime, while the Pacers were 97-93 winners in Game 2.
Miami last night raced out to a 70-56 halftime lead as James scored 18 points and Udonis Haslem added 13 of his 17 on 6-of-7 shooting. The Heat are the first team to score 70 points in a half during the playoffs since the Golden State Warriors against the Utah Jazz on May 11, 2007.
“They were just too comfortable offensively,” said the Pacers’ David West, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds last night. “They did a good job of moving the ball. LeBron wasn’t holding it, Wade wasn’t holding it and guys were making shots.”
Roy Hibbert added 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Pacers, who also host Game 4 tomorrow at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“We know how competitive this series is,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters last night. “We already have to start putting this behind us and start getting ready for the next challenge in Game 4.”
The San Antonio Spurs, who lead the Memphis Grizzlies 3-0 in the Western Conference finals, can secure a place in the NBA Finals by winning Game 4 tonight in Memphis.
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