The Miami Heat had not lost two straight games since January, and that streak remained intact Sunday night, as the Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 114-96 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James scored 22 points, absolutely abusing Paul George in the low post. Indiana refused to double team James, so he showed off a bunch of the low post moves he learned from Hakeem Olajuwon back in the summer of 2011.
"I made a conscious effort to get down in the post tonight, to put pressure on their defense," James said. "The coaching staff wanted me to be down there tonight, and my teammates allowed me to do that."
Miami came out guns-a-blazing in the first half, scoring 70 points and shooting an absurd 63% from the field. It was the best playoff half in franchise history for Miami.
The Heat committed only five turnovers the entire game, setting a new franchise playoff record. After struggling from three-point range during the first two games of the season, Miami attempted only 5 three-pointers in the first half, choosing instead to pound the painted area. The Heat outscored Indiana in the paint 52-36.
Udonis Haslem played his best game in recent memory, scoring 17 points on 8 of 9 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds. "He's the heartbeat of our team," James said after the game. Chris Bosh scored 15 and Mario Chalmers scored 14.
Dwyane Wade scored 18. Earlier Sunday, NBA officials ruled that his forearm shot to Lance Stephenson late in Game 2 was a flagrant foul, but not the kind of flagrant foul that would merit a suspension.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen continued his hot play, scoring 9 points off the bench with 10 rebounds. He made all four of his shots, and has yet to miss a shot in the Eastern Conference Finals.
David West led the Pacers with 21 points, Roy Hibbert scored 20 with 17 rebounds, but the Pacers struggled mightily on offense. Indiana shot 40%, including 11 for 37 in the second half.
The Pacers lost for the first time at home in the playoffs this season, dropping to 6-1. The win was the fifth straight by double digits on the road for Miami, the first team to ever accomplish that feat in NBA history.
Game 4 will be played Tuesday night in Indiana.