In the playoff series (best of 7) against the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat have just tied the series back to 2-2 with a great performance by both its superstars, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, which combined for a total of 70 points. The series are all tied up and essentially became a best out of 3 showdown.
With a shimmy and a shake that evoked memories of a famous Chicago Bulls guard, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade freed himself on the left baseline and elevated for a feathery 15-foot jumper. His helpless defender could do nothing but watch as the shot floated through the net for yet another two points.
On Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, that became a bit of a trend. Neither Wade nor Big Three partner in crime LeBron James dealt with much else other than shots dropping gracefully through Midwestern twine during a 101-93 win over the Pacers.
Down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals heading into Sunday’s pivotal showdown and with star forward Chris Bosh out indefinitely, both Wade and James delivered the types of performances—30 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Wade; 40 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and two steals for James—required for the Heat to force themselves back into the discussion of title contenders after two straight losses where they’d looked anything but.
The teammates’ 70 combined points was their highest total ever in the playoffs.
Game 3, while not the shock of losing at home, had been the worst of it. Wade had been caught on camera fighting with coach Eric Spoelstra as the former Marquette star shot a woeful 2-of-13 from the field for only five points. LeBron had chipped in 22, but was helpless, along with his teammates, to stop a Pacer freight train of a rotation that comes at you 10 deep with no chance of respite.
That train ran amok, and boasted a 94-75 final margin to back it up.
But all that was forgotten, if only for a game, on Sunday. Wade was once again his silky-smooth scoring self, James the battering ram intent on wrecking destruction from any area on the court.
The two combined to shoot 27 of 50 from the field, with Wade showing no significant effects from a sore left knee that had forced him to have fluid drained from it in the run-up to Game 3.
The two stars were joined by a reborn Udonis Haslem, who overcame a shot to the area just above his right eye—he needed nine stitches to stem the gushing—to hit a slew of key jump shots on the way to a key 14 points.
Haslem will need to be at his best in Game 5 in Miami on Tuesday, because before an enthralling 25-5 Heat second-half run—keyed by the superlative James and Wade, the Pacers had once more threatened to seal the game up early.
Now Indiana knows that will not likely happen again this series. Miami was shaken by Bosh’s injury and looked a shell of its dominant regular and first-round self in Games 2 and 3.
If Sunday showed us anything, however, it’s that the Heat are back, and they mean business. As in a trip to the Eastern Conference final-type of business.
These next few games are going to be exciting and decide if the Heat are finally worthy of being called NBA Champions!