The Miami Heat took a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference final on Thursday night, defeating the Indiana Pacers.
The Miami Heat, riding largely on the shoulders of LeBron James’ clutch second-half shooting, are now one game away from their third NBA Finals appearance, defeating the Indiana Pacers, 90-79, Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
James led all scorers with 30 points, to go along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists (including 3-of-7 shooting from behind the three-point arc). But Miami got an additional, if unlikely boost from the inspired play of former Florida Gators star Udonis Haslem, who had 16 points – all of them in the second half – with a string of key field goals in the opening minutes of the third quarter. And some of those buckets, it appeared, were largely uncontested – due to James’ being constantly double-teamed. Indiana had led 44-40 at the break, but Haslem’s 8-for-8 field-goal surge, together with James’ scoring (they combined for 26 points in the third quarter alone) effectively K.O.’d the Pacers, who were outscored in the penultimate quarter, 30-13.