LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 70 points as the Miami Heat recovered from back-to-back defeats to grind down the Indiana Pacers 101-93 on Sunday and level the NBA’s Eastern conference semi-final at 2-2.
The Heat, who struggled in their previous games after Chris Bosh was ruled out with an abdominal injury, trailed by eight points at halftime, but snatched the momentum when James and Wade took control in a dominant third quarter.
“This is what the playoffs are all about. It’s just survival,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
James, named last week as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, scored 40 points, with 18 rebounds and nine assists.
Wade, who was subdued in Game 3, responded with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Heat sparkled in a stunning return to form.
“Me and ‘Bron had it going,” Wade said. “We played off of each other very well.”
“We both were aggressive at the same time. That’s beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way,” Wade said.
Forward Danny Granger led Indiana with 20 points, but the Pacers were powerless to curtail James and Wade in a rampant third quarter.
“You get the ball out of one of those guys’ hands and it just gets to the other guy’s,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
The Pacers led 54-46 at halftime, but James and Wade put the visitors in front when they combined to score the next 28 points for the Heat, who went on a 25-5 run.
“We had a terrible performance in Game 3,” James said. “We wanted to redeem ourselves.”
The teams return to Florida for Game 5 tomorrow.
“It’s still going to be a dogfight,” James said. “It’s a three-game series now.”