Dwyane Wade dominated the first half, LeBron James and Chris Bosh took over in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat’s star power overcame Indiana’s youth and determination.
Wade tied a franchise record for most points in a first half with 31, and he finished with 41 to help the Heat defeat the Pacers 110-103 on Tuesday night.
James scored 27 points and Bosh added 22 points and eight rebounds for Miami. They combined for 19 of Miami’s 28 points in the final 12 minutes to help the Heat recover after squandering a 24-point lead.
“We’re one of the best fourth-quarter teams in the league,” Wade said. “With the caliber players that we have, especially myself and Chris and LeBron, we’re able to run the full-court offense, get good shots, high percentage shots.”
Wade also finished with 12 rebounds for the Heat.
“It was amazing,” James said. “That’s part of the reason why he’s D-Wade. We saw him get going early and we just kept giving him the ball. It was an unbelievable first quarter and an unbelievable first half in itself.”
Miami held Indiana to 6-for-23 shooting in the fourth quarter.
“Our fourth-quarter defense is tremendous,” James said. “When it’s winning time, we know how to get stops.”
Roy Hibbert scored 18 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 16 for the Pacers. Indiana has won seven of nine under interim coach Frank Vogel, with both losses coming against the Heat.
Miami led 41-17 late in the first quarter, but Indiana rallied and led early in the fourth quarter.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Vogel said. “This is what I’m talking about when I talk about smashmouth basketball, blood and guts, never quitting. All heart, all hustle.”
None of those things were enough.
James threw the ball off the backboard, caught it with one hand and dunked to give Miami a 93-91 lead with 6 minutes to play. James converted a basket in close over the 7-foot-2 Hibbert, then scored on a tip-in to push Miami’s lead to 99-94, and the Heat led the rest of the way.
Wade dominated Mike Dunleavy for 16 points in the first 5:05 of the game. When Vogel finally switched the matchup and brought in rookie Paul George, Wade splashed a jumper in George’s face seconds after he entered. Wade finished the period with 22 points, the most he has scored in a quarter this season. One of his baskets was a jumper from behind the backboard.
Miami led 41-19 at the end of the quarter. It was the most points the Heat have scored in a quarter and their highest point differential in a quarter this season.
The Pacers went to their bench and flipped the script. Led by Hansbrough, the Pacers shot 64 percent in the second quarter. Indiana outscored the Heat 35-17 in the period and trailed 58-54 at halftime.
“We got smacked in the mouth pretty hard, repeatedly,” Hibbert said. “First quarter was pretty tough. I didn’t think we were all tuned in together, ready to play, but the second unit came out – they really got us back in the game.”
Miami wasn’t pleased with the second quarter.
“For us, it’s about that one quarter that we have, in the first, second, or the third, which we have mental lapses,” he said. “We have to figure that out.”
Miami led 64-58 when George made a 3-pointer. Collison stole the inbounds pass, and Danny Granger made a 3-pointer to tie it with 8:33 left in the third quarter. The Pacers took a 73-68 lead when George made three free throws after getting fouled on a 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the third quarter.
Miami regained the lead with a 6-0 run, and the advantage seesawed through the rest of the quarter. Hansbrough hit a mid-range jumper as time expired in the third quarter to give the Pacers an 83-82 lead.
Indiana gained confidence during the close call.
“The rest of the season, we’re coming,” Hibbert said. “We’re not backing down. We’re not having any lackadaisical games. We’re on the prowl. We’re hungry.”
Notes: Miami shot 71 percent in the first quarter and outrebounded the Pacers 15-6. … Pacers G Brandon Rush returned after missing 10 straight games with a sprained right ankle. … Miami C Erick Dampier was called for a technical foul with 1:05 left in the 2nd quarter. … Indiana had its fifth sellout of the season. … Indiana has scored at least 100 points in every game since Vogel took over.
By CLIFF BRUNT
Tags: Wade's 41 push Heat past Pacers