Less than a week after falling down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals and seemingly being on the ropes, the Miami Heat have rallied to a 3-2 series lead over the Indiana Pacers with a 115-83 win in Game 5.
LeBron James nearly pulled off a triple double, scoring 30 points and adding 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Dwyane Wade had his second straight big game, scoring 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting.
The Heat held Indiana to just 34 percent shooting from the field, by far their worst performance of the series. Miami, meanwhile, shot 61 percent, including a series-best 9 of 16 from 3-point range. Their 115-point outburst was the second-best playoff performance in franchise history.
That surge from downtown came in large part from the reawakening of Shane Battier. He went 4 of 5 from 3-point range, scoring 13 points. Mario Chalmers added 8 points and 11 rebounds, while Joel Anthony contributed 7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks off the bench.
For the first time all series, the Heat got off to a quick start, opening on a 12-5 run. Miami led 26-20 after 1, shot 61 percent. The lead could have been bigger were it not for the Heat's six turnovers that quarter.
Miami led by 9 at the half, going on a 9-2 run in the last two minutes to make the score 49-40. As they did in Game 4, the Heat came out of the half on a tear, outscoring Indiana 27-17 in the third quarter. James and Wade combined for 19 points in the quarter.
Miami's tenacity came on defense as well as offense. The Heat befuddled the Pacers defensively, forcing them to jack up long jump shots with the shot clock close to expiring.
Indiana shot 6 of 21 during the quarter, while the Heat picked up 3 blocks and a steal collectively.
No Pacer scored more than 11 points. Paul George scored 11, while David West and Danny Granger both had 10 points. Granger had to leave early after spraining his left ankle in the third quarter. It was the second time he left the game after tweaking his ankle. In the second quarter, he had to go to the locker room to get re-taped.
The tough physical play that has marked this series continued. Tyler Hansborough committed a hard foul on Wade in the second quarter (drawing blood), which was called a flagrant 1. Minutes later, Udonis Haslem retaliated on Hansborough with a flagrant 1 of his own, but replays showed Haslem was lucky it wasn't called a flagrant 2 and automatic ejection.
Dexter Pittman was also called for a flagrant 1 late in the game when he elbowed Lance Stephenson on a loose ball.
Game 6 will be played Thursday night in Indianapolis. With a win the Heat would advance to the franchise's second straight Eastern Conference finals against the winner of the Boston-Philadelphia series.
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on Thursday.