Now it’s the Pacers turn to adjust.
West led Indiana with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Hibbert had 20 points and 17 boards. George finished with 13 points and eight assists, not nearly enough for the Pacers to remain perfect at home in the postseason.
Miami took advantage of a wild first quarter to build a 34-30 lead, then turned the game with James taking control in a 12-point second quarter. He scored half of the points in an 8-2 run that gave the Heat what was then their biggest lead of the series, 42-32.
A few minutes later, James did it again, making a 15-footer with 1.3 seconds left in the half to give Miami a 70-56 lead at the break – and the franchise record.
Indiana opened the second half looking more like the team that had given Miami fits in Games 1 and 2. The Pacers hit back-to-back 3-pointers and got a three-point play from George Hill. When Lance Stephenson followed that with 1 of 2 free throws, the lead had been cut to 74-67.
It didn’t last.
Miami countered with a 9-4 run, extended the lead to 91-76 after three and made it 99-78 early in the fourth. Indiana never challenged again – the 18-point margin matching Indiana’s worst home loss of the season – even though James scored only four second-half points.
“If you’re not perfect guarding them, they’ll do what they did to us tonight,” Vogel said. “Sometimes when you are perfect with your coverages, they still find a way to make baskets. But we didn’t have a great defensive night.”
NOTES: Miami’s best scoring half before Sunday was a 68-point effort against Chicago on April 24, 2006. … Miami’s Chris Andersen has made 16 consecutive shots in the playoffs. … Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh attended the game. Harbaugh drove the pace car at the Indy 500. … The victory was Miami’s first at Indiana this season after dropping both regular-season meetings in Indy.
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