Despite not having the number one seed in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat have taken advantage of home-court advantage this postseason. The Heat have improved to 6-0 at home this postseason, with a 99-87 victory in Game 3 against the visiting Indiana Pacers to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
The beginning of the game began with a Pacers‘ 17-4 run, and Indiana was up 37-22 in the second quarter. As Miami increased the defensive pressure, the Pacers turned the ball over on five straight possessions. With 8:48 in the 3rd quarter, Dwyane Wade scores a 2 point field goal to lower the deficit to 5 (51-46).
On the very next possession, Pacers point guard Stephen Hill takes an offensive foul as his fourth against Udonis Haslem, which Jeff Van Gundy believed was a defensive foul. On the next possession, Wade passes to Rashard Lewis, who gets it to LeBron James and James stutter-steps his way into the paint for a shot over Roy Hibbert to get the score to 51-48. David West misses a turnaround jumper, which Haslem rebounds and throws to Mario Chalmers, who eventually scores to get the deficit to one.
Lance Stephenson, who has played well in this series, misses a Udonis Haslem-defended layup after a West pass. Haslem gets the rebound, outlets it to Wade, who launches it to James, getting behind the last Indiana defender and slamming it down for the Heat‘s first lead of the game.
Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra talked about his team’s effort and play in the first half:
“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.”
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel talked about how his team started and how they handled certain situations.
“We came “out of the gates” 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.”
The Heat led 71-64 after the third quarter and were looking to keep up the pace in the 4th quarter. The man who many say is the “most-clutch three-point field goal shooter ever” showed his range in Game 3. Dwyane Wade hit a three-point field goal at the beginning of the quarter. Ray Allen was 4-of-4 from behind the arc and those three-point field goals put away Indiana whenever they made a move back; Allen finished with 13 points.
James (+24) and Wade (+9) combine for 49 points, 11 assists, and 7 steals. Paul George had 17 points, 4 assists in the loss, and Roy Hibbert had a quiet 16 points (10+ in 7 of last 8), 2 rebounds (-21) in 35+ minutes. Udonis Haslem (+1) Rashard Lewis (+21) defended David West (-21) for much of the game. Paul George struggled (5-13 FG, 1-6 3-point FG, 6-10 FT) and did not have an intimidating presence he needs to provide.