The Miami Heat pulled away from the Indiana Pacers early in Game 3 Sunday night, and they never looked back as they went on to win 114-96. The Heat now have a 2-1 series lead after taking the first game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
LeBron James once again made the biggest impact, though he finished with one of his lowest scoring totals in the playoffs. James pitched in 22 points in the win to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
His most impressive stat-line is that he didn’t give up the ball once, and the Heat as a team only turned the ball over five times. Great ball movement and aggressive play in the paint held the Pacers at bay all night long, giving head coach Frank Vogel his first home loss during the playoffs.
“If you’re not perfect guarding them, they’ll do what they did to us tonight,” Vogel said after the game. ”Sometimes when you are perfect with your coverages, they still find a way to make baskets. But we didn’t have a great defensive night.”
His review of the Game 3 match-up was spot on, as the Heat pulled away early and the Pacers never had a true response. All five of the Heat’s starters finished in double-figures while Chris Anderson also gave the team a spark off the bench.
Anderson finished with nine points in 22 minutes of play, but his nine rebounds in limited time made all the difference. Dwyane Wade had the spotlight before the game as some believed he deserved to be suspended for his flagrant foul in Game 2, but the 31-year-old was on the court anyways. Wade put together a solid night and he finished with 18 points, four rebounds, and eight assists.
The Pacers’ unsung hero in Game 2, Paul George, never found his groove on Sunday as he shot just 3-for-10 from the floor and only managed 13 points in the contest. Roy Hibbert, the Pacers’ big man who’s been involved in one controversial play after another, was a force in the paint with 20 points and 17 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as the Heat finished the Pacers off to regain the series lead.
Can the Pacers regroup after the Game 3 loss or will the Heat begin to pull away in Game 4 on Tuesday?
[Image via Keith Allison]