LeBron James was not going back to South Beach in a two-game hole. On Tuesday night in Indianapolis, the back-to-back NBA champion James controlled the fourth quarter, guiding the Heat to an 87-83 win and evening the Eastern Conference Finals at a game apiece.
Neither team could take control offensively, playing a sluggish first half that saw the Heat head into the third quarter up, 41-37. Indiana's tight defense helped corral Miami, who made adjustments from Game 1's terrible performance on the pick-and-roll.
The game came down to the final three minutes, where James and Dwyane Wade took over. James was everywhere as he drove to the lane, made the right read on the pick-and-roll and connected with Wade for an easy backdoor cut with 21 seconds left to widen the lead to eight points. George Hill hit a late three-pointer but the Pacers couldn't come back.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade ended up scoring or assisting on the Heat's final 33 points.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 21, 2014
James scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting, adding seven rebounds, six assists, three blocks and two steals. Wade dropped 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, with five assists, five rebounds and one steal. Norris Cole added 11 points off the bench with two assists. Chris Bosh scored just nine points.
For Indiana, a balanced scoring load from their starters hid a miserable nine points off the bench. Lance Stephenson scored 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting, dishing out seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Roy Hibbert scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, pulling down 13 rebounds with one block and a steal. Paul George scored 14 points.
Game 3 is Saturday in Miami at 5:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN.