Heating Up: Miami Evens Series; LeBron, Wade Take Charge

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took charge on Sunday afternoon and the Heat beat the Pacers, 101-93, to even the series.

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LeBron James And The Death Of Constructive Skepticism

LeBron James had 40 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists in a phenomenal Game 4 win against the Pacers, and he reminded everyone why he's the MVP. But it's okay if you're still skeptical.

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Dwyane Wade Had Much Better Third Quarter Performance On Sunday Than In Game 3

Dwyane Wade didn't add any fans with his performance for the Miami Heat in Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers, and it looked like he might be the goat if Miami was unable to advance past the second round of the NBA Playoffs. He made up for his ugly Game 3 performance on Sunday afternoon, though, turning in a much better performance in the third quarter than he had just a few days prior.

For those that don't remember, SB Nation colleague Andrew Sharp chronicled Wade's ugly third quarter in Game 3 pretty perfectly late last week, noting just how bad D-Wade looked as the Pacers bottled him up and frustrated him to the point that he had an on-camera altercation with head coach Erik Spoelstra.

Sunday's third quarter was quite a bit different for Wade, however, as he overcame a sub-par first half to look like the Wade of old on his way to 30 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and nary a turnover before all was said and done.

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald compared Wade's performance in Game 4 to that of Game 3, noting what a difference a few days can make.

James had been a force the entire game - the league MVP that he is - but for Wade it was that third quarter that jump-started him after he had been shooting only 31 percent in this series.

That was the same quarter when he had his frustrated Game 3 meltdown, raging at his coach on the sideline in a caught-on-camera incident that, coupled with his five-point night, heaped on Wade the kind of national vilification normally reserved for James.

The vilification was real, and it likely hurt, but Wade needed just one game to turn everything back into his favor ... for now, anyway.

"I've been doubted before, I'll be doubted again," Wade said after Sunday's game, feeling obvious vindication, enjoying its taste. "When things are going great, everybody pats you on the back. When they're not, sometimes they turn their backs."

It's funny, but during the two-day break in this series Pacers players were shown a montage of Wade's greatness by Indiana coach Frank Vogel, who wanted to remind his team to not get lulled by the misfiring Wade they had been seeing in this series. In the third quarter Wade began to show the Pacers a live version of that highlight reel.

Fans watching the NBA Playoffs are a fickle bunch, to be sure, meaning Wade needs to have a similar performance in Game 5 if he's going to keep everyone off of his back.

For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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Don't Forget: There's A Reason LeBron James Was The MVP

This weekend reminded us how good LeBron James is, how much better Kevin Durant has gotten, and that Father Time can sneak up on even Kobe Bryant. That and more in this week's Monday Morning Jones.

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Dwyane Wade Had Knee Drained Before Game 4 Heat Win Vs. Pacers

Dwyane Wade broke out of a slump in a major way in Game 4 of the Miami Heat's series against the Indiana Pacers, with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists as LeBron James' cohort in the huge victory. Though the All-NBA guard wouldn't reveal anything in front of cameras, ESPN.com's Michael Wallace reports that sources say Wade had his left knee drained before Game 4.

Wade shot just 2-13 in Miami's Game 3 loss, leading to speculation about what caused the disastrous performance. With the knee revelation, the question now turns to whether he'll be healthy enough to help lead the Heat to a series victory. Even with Wade and James putting together huge performances on Sunday, Indiana remained within striking distance late.

Wade hadn't scored 30 points in a game since March 30 against Toronto, when he had 30 with six assists and zero turnovers.

For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier.

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NBA Playoffs: Heat Beat Pacers As LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Amaze

The Indiana Pacers looked like they might be on their way to putting the Miami Heat into a 3-1 deficit at halftime of Sunday afternoon's game, but Dwyane Wade and LeBron James had other ideas. Miami's pair of superstars put together the best combined game they've had in this year's NBA Playoffs, pulling out a 101-93 victory to force at least two more games in the seven-game series.

James got quite a bit of credit for his performance that included 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists -- and was well-deserving of all of it, mind you -- but he and Wade probably deserved equal praise in helping Miami to tie the series.

At least that's the way our friends at Peninsula Is Mightier, SB Nation's Miami Heat blog, saw things:

The Heat's two superstars put together a marvelous stretch in the third quarter to give Miami a lead the team would never relinquish. James and Wade scored 38 straight points for the Heat at one point, turning a eight-point halftime deficit into an advantage that crested at 10. What was most impressive about the stretch was that James and Wade didn't devolve into the "my turn, your turn" offense; they synergized and made hard cuts to the basket for easy buckets.

It wasn't just James and Wade that showed up to play for the Heat, however, as Udonis Haslem was able to make an impact after being pretty quiet since Miami lost starting big man Chris Bosh due to injury.

The 3-time MVP and his superstar buddy combined for 70 points and filled the stat sheet, but Udonis Haslem made several clutch baskets to keep Indiana at bay in the fourth quarter. The veteran's performance was reminiscent of his breakout game last season in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, making a thunderous put-back dunk in the second quarter. Haslem has struggled with his mid-range shot all season long, but he made four jumpers in the final stanza of play, the last one extending the Heat's lead to 98-91 with 71 seconds left. Haslem made the shots Bosh usually makes, and it was good that the 6-foot-8 Miami native didn't hesitate on any one of them.

As good as Miami was in the second half, equal blame could be placed on the Pacers for getting away from what had been working for them prior to halftime. Our Indiana Pacers blog Indy Cornrolls noted that the Pacers didn't put up much of a fight against the performance Wade and James put together in crunch time.

James and Wade dominated the Pacers in the third quarter as Indiana suffered through one and outs, poor defensive rotations, and some light foul trouble, but for really the first time in the series, Miami appeared to be the aggressors, not only on the offensive side, but the defensive side. Before you could blink, the 8-point halftime lead turned into a 10-point deficit, Miami's first double digit lead in the series as Miami Pacer'd the Pacers in the third quarter to win 30-16.

Despite the struggles, Indiana still had plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter, but the defense simply wouldn't hold up. As the fourth quarter wore on and the Pacers responded positively to Miami runs, it was always about the stops they couldn't get. When the starters returned, turnovers had been an issue to the point where they couldn't get enough shots, and when they did get shots, they were one and done on every possession.

It'll be interesting to see what happens next in the series, but if the second-half performances carry over into Game 5, it might not be pretty for the Pacers.

For more on the Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Pacers, head over to Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana.

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VIDEO: Lance Stephenson, Juwan Howard Have Minor Discussion

It sounded dramatic in print: Juwan Howard and Lance Stephenson got a little tangled up during the pre-game shootaround on Sunday. Of course, words don't quite paint the whole picture. We knew the two had to be separated after exchanging words, but didn't know how bad it was.

Turns out there wasn't much to the discussion between Stephenson and Howard.

Via Sports Grid

Really not all that interesting. Howard comes over to have a talk with Stephenson, and the two appear to be going back and forth for a bit before teammates come over and get between them. Howard then walks back to the locker room.

While it's probably taboo to wander over to an opposing team's side of the court during the shootaround, there just isn't much to this particular meeting of the minds. Howard was upset about Stephenson's sideline antics, among other things, and, presumably, wanted to let him know.

And then the Heat went out and evened the series. That says a bit more than some pre-game jawing between two players whose in-game roles involve holding down the bench.

For more on the Heat, check out Peninsula Is Mightier and SB Nation Tampa Bay. For more on the Pacers, head over to Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana.

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James Jones Should Stick To Firing Up Threes

James Jones has taken two attempts so far today. The first was a three. The second was this:

James Jones misses driving dunk

And that doesn't describe it.

James-jones_medium

via @BlazersEdge

And with that, James Jones was banished to beyond the arc once again. Can't even step inside that three-point line.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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