LeBron James scored 30 points and the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 115-83 to move within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals in the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Miami leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 and can eliminate the Pacers in Game 6 tomorrow at Indiana.
“This is our challenge right now, to leave it behind us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “A lot of good things tonight, but we have to focus on the next one.”
James had 10 rebounds and eight assists and Dwyane Wade added 28 points as the Heat shot a franchise playoff-record 61 percent, outpacing any team in the playoffs this season.
“This was a total team effort,” Wade said in a televised interview. “But it’s good for me to get two games in a row like this.”
Paul George scored 11 points for the Pacers, and Danny Granger and David West contributed 10 points each before they were taken out of the game with injuries at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Granger left with a sprained left ankle in the third quarter, and West left with a left knee sprain at the end of the period.
“They played at their tempo,” West said. “We weren’t able to get enough stops. You can’t allow a team to shoot 60, 60-plus, whatever from the field.”
The game had its rough moments. The Pacers’ Tyler Hansbrough sent Wade to the court in the second quarter after raking his fingernails across Wade’s eyes. The incident drew blood above Wade’s eyebrow and a flagrant foul for Hansbrough.
Less than a minute later, Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who received stitches for a cut he got in Game 4 when Indiana’s Lou Amundson elbowed him in the head, went after Hansbrough and sent him to the floor. Haslem got a flagrant foul as well.
“Game 6 is going to be physical,” Wade said. “We’ve got to understand that this team has a lot of pride. Their crowd is going to be ready. They’re going to come out with a lot of energy. We’ve got to withstand that first hit and still be standing. We’re ready for it.”
The series winner will play the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers for a place in the NBA Finals. That series resumes tonight in Philadelphia with the Celtics leading 3-2 in games.
in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org