Heat Handle Pacers Take 2-1 Series Lead

THE FACT: The Miami Heat improved to 6-0 at home during the 2014 playoffs.

THE LEAD: Dwyane Wade and Lebron James were once against the perfect combo in leading the Miami Heat to a 99-87 victory against the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Heat now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Miami needed to rally from a 15-point, first-half deficit to capture the win. They did it behind James, Wade and a strong defensive effort. James finished with a game-high 26 points while Wade added 23 points and four assists. Guard Ray Allen also had 16 points, going 4-for-4 from the 3-point arc.

The Heat fell behind 17-4 early and then trailed 37-22 in the second quarter. Things changed when the Heat turned up the defensive pressure. Miami got back into the game by forcing turnovers on five straight Pacers possessions.

The Heat finally grabbed the lead, 52-51, on a dunk by James with 7:36 left in the third quarter and never looked back.

The Pacers were led by Paul George‘s 17 points, but he was a non-factor for the most part. It was his first game since sustaining a concussion in the fourth quarter of Game 2.

QUOTABLE: “We looked like we were stuck in the mud in the first quarter. That is a big credit to how they dictated the game. We can’t play this series on their terms … It was good to see us bounce back in the second quarter and show some toughness.”
— Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

THE STAT: The Heat were 10-for-18 from the 3-point line.

TURNING POINT: Trailing 37-22, the Heat stepped up the defense midway through the second quarter. The lead was trimmed to four by halftime, giving the Heat momentum to start the third quarter.

QUOTABLE II: “We came out of the games pretty strong. We got off to a good start. We didn’t manage our foul trouble well and we didn’t manage them picking up their defensive intensity … We obviously turned it over a little too much. It let them get going.”
— Pacers coach Frank Vogel

HOT: Wade has continued to hurt the Pacers in this series. This was the third straight game he scored more than 20 points. Overall, Wade has four consecutive 20-point games this postseason. His scoring has eased the load off James.

NOT: George had the look of a player who missed two days of practice. He got off to a slow start, missing five of his first seven shots. By the time he got it going, it was too late.

GOOD MOVE: Spoelstra threw a new wrinkle by inserting Rashard Lewis into the rotation. It was Lewis’ first appearance in the series. He played solid defensively against Pacers forward David West.

BAD MOVE: There is no excuse for leaving the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers open for so many looks. While Wade and James brought the Heat back, it was Allen who put the game away from the arc.

NOTABLE: Heat center Greg Oden was active for the first time this series but did not play.

UP NEXT: Game 4 Monday (8:30 ET, ESPN) at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Written by Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra

Joey Sinatra is a co-founder of WickedJumpShot.com Joey is a boxing and basketball journalist who attends USI as a post graduate. Joey grew up in the New Rochelle Area of the greater New York City area, and is a cousin of the famous singer, Frank Sinatra. Joey also writes for the Boxing Globe.

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