LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 22 of Miami’s 25 fourth-quarter points as the Heat pulled away for a 95-86 win against the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their National Basketball Association playoff series.
A day after capturing his third NBA Most Valuable Player award, James had 32 points and 15 rebounds, with 16 points coming in the final 12 minutes. Wade had six of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat snapped a 70-70 tie yesterday at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.
“We did have a good flow,” James said at a news conference. “We both were attacking and weren’t waiting on one another. It felt good.”
Miami’s win came after the Los Angeles Clippers completed the second-round lineup with an 82-72 defeat of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7 of their Western Conference series.
Chris Paul scored 19 points to lead the Clippers, who advance to face the West’s top-seeded San Antonio Spurs after the third playoff series victory in franchise history.
The Heat, the second seed in the East, might be without center Chris Bosh when they host Game 2 in the best-of-seven series tomorrow. Bosh had 13 points before suffering a lower abdominal injury during the second quarter. He didn’t return and will have tests to determine the severity of the injury.
“It’s unfortunate Chris went down, but we told him, ‘Just get healthy, we got it,’” Wade said.
James and Wade combined to outscore the Pacers 42-38 after halftime. Miami didn’t lead by more than two points until James made a layup with 9:20 left to push its lead to 76-72. The Heat held the Pacers to 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“He made MVP plays on both ends of the court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of James. “The rebounding, defending and he made a lot of offensive plays, particularly in the fourth quarter when we needed it.”
David West and Roy Hibbert each had 17 points for the third-seeded Pacers, who are in the second round for the first time since 2005 after eliminating the Orlando Magic.
The Clippers got past the Grizzlies in Memphis after losing the previous two games, including blowing an eight-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 6. The Clippers’ bench players outscored the Grizzlies’ reserves 41-11.
“Our bench was huge that fourth quarter,” said Paul, whose team will visit the Spurs in Game 1 tomorrow. “Let’s go to San Antonio.”