In one of the most dominant 11 minutes of action by one player, LeBron James did something every 35 seconds. During that stretch in the third quarter he either made a basket, grabbed a rebound, blocked a shot or drew a foul. The Pacers dominated the first 25 minutes and led 46-41, and by the end James had the Heat up 70-56 and the game was over before the third quarter, giving the Heat a crucial three games to two lead with a 90-79 win.
|LeBron James – 18 Contributions in 10:37||3rdQ||Miami||Indiana|
|Assist to Haslem for layup||10:15||45||46|
|Assist to Haslem for dunk||9:37||47||46|
|Drew foul on Stephenson||7:52||49||48|
|Drew foul on DJ Augustin||6:11||49||51|
|Assist to Chalmers for three pointer||4:26||56||53|
|Blocked Mahinmi’s layup||1:46||63||55|
|Assist to Haslem for 21-footer||0:47||67||55|
|Made 25-foot three pointer||0:16||70||56|
James left the Cleveland Cavaliers because he did not believe he could win a title by himself, but Thursday he was alone. Dwyane Wade continued to hobble on his injured knee and even went to the locker room, and Chris Bosh was completely outmuscled the Pacers.
Indiana continued to bottle up the inside to make the Heat put up jumpers instead of driving to the hoop, and kept the game at their pace for more than a half. If not for three missed layups early, the Pacers might have had a double digit lead.
Lance Stephenson, who has jawed with James throughout the series and was lauded for his energy in the Game 3 win, did not score until the final four minutes of the game when it was over. He planted an elbow in Wade’s neck, days after Wade planted an elbow in the back of his head. Wade rejected a fourth quarter attempt by Stephenson to keep him scoreless before he fouled out with four points, three rebounds, two assists and the six fouls.
James, who fouled out for the first time all year in the Game 4 loss, played very cautiously on defense throughout the first half to make sure he did not foul out in the pivotal game. He finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
If the Heat makes the Championship series with a win in Indianapolis on Saturday or back in Miami on Monday, then James will almost certainly break into the all-time top 10 scorers in NBA history with many years left to play.