Stars rise to occasion for Heat 0
Heat forward LeBron James drives the baseline against Pacers forward Danny Granger during Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., May 20, 2012. (BRENT SMITH/Reuters)
Facing the prospect of a third straight loss, the Heat were picked up by their two remaining stars.
Instead of going home in a two-game hole, they'll head back to Miami with some much-needed mojo.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored 38 straight points in the middle of Game 4 on Sunday afternoon and the Heat battled for a 101-93 victory over the Indiana Pacers to even their Eastern Conference semifinal.
James had 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists while Wade added 30 points, nine boards and six helpers -- their best performance since Chris Bosh went down in Game 1.
"They've been through quite a few battles," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the two stars. "We went through quite a bit last year. All the series we went through were highly-competitive, so they understand with one of our main components out that they have to step up."
James and Wade scored 48-of-50 points for the Heat between the latter stages of the second quarter and early in the fourth. Udonis Haslem picked up some of the slack down the stretch, scoring eight of his 14 points in the final quarter.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Miami.
Danny Granger led the Pacers with 20 points, Darren Collinson had 16 off the bench, Paul George scored 13 and Roy Hibbert chipped in 10 with nine rebounds.
Hibbert and David West, who scored eight, both played in foul trouble.
The third-seeded Pacers had taken a 2-1 lead in the series after two wins in a row, including Thursday night's 94-75 rout.
The Heat, seeded second and the clear favorites to come out of the East with Chicago gone, trailed by double digits in the first and second quarter Sunday before James and Wade went off.
"We're a complete team. We've handled runs like that all year," said Indiana coach Frank Vogel. "We tried to handle it, but we didn't handle it enough."
After scoring the last 10 points of the second quarter, James and Wade had the first 28 of the third for Miami. Wade knocked down a 3 for a 64-63 edge in the midst of a 17-2 run that turned a 10-point deficit into a five-point lead.
The first points not scored by the two players were Haslem's free throws for a 76-66 lead -- the end of an extended 25-5 Miami run. The Pacers pulled within 76-70 going into the fourth.
James and Wade led Miami to a 30-16 third quarter -- this after the Heat were outscored by a combined 54-26 in the same period in Games 2 and 3.
"You get the ball out of one of those guys' hands," said Vogel, "and it finds its way to the other guy."
James rattled the rim on a put-back dunk in the fourth quarter and the Heat built a nine-point lead inside five minutes. Granger buried a 3 to cut the deficit to five with 1:35 remaining, but Indiana never got closer.
It was a different story early on.
The Pacers opened the game on a 9-0 run as it took Miami nearly 4 1/2 minutes to get its first points on a James dunk.
Mario Chalmers hit back-to-back 3s for the Heat, but Indiana had a 10-point lead after a Granger 3 and two Tyler Hansbrough free throws after that.
The Pacers took a 25-18 lead into the second quarter, but Miami went ahead for the first time on Chalmers' reverse layup to make it 30-29 at the end of an 8-0 run.
Indiana replied with a 20-8 burst for an 11-point lead and went to the locker room ahead 54-46 despite James' 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
In a moment of chippiness before the half, Wade and Granger came face-to-face after Wade was wrapped up under the basket by Hibbert on a hard foul. Wade shoved Hibbert's hand away even as it looked like the Pacers center was trying to hold him up, and Granger seemed to take umbrage.
"This is the epitome of a 2-3 matchup," said Spoelstra. "It's a long series and right now it's just survival."
The Heat outscored the Pacers 50-32 in the paint and out-rebounded Indiana 47-38...Both teams scored 12 points off the other team's 15 turnovers.