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They’re two wins from tilting the balance of power in the East.
"We’re certainly happy with the win," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel. "But we’ve got a lot of work to do."
Vogel’s pregame message to his team: "Keep your edge, and enhance your edge."
Enhance, they did.
Hibbert controlled the glass, roaming the lane on both ends and finishing with five blocks.
"My primary focus is defense, defense, defense," he said. "I embrace that role and let the offense come to me. Them being one and done, that’s what we talked about in the huddle," he said. "One shot and they’re done."
Two more losses and the Heat are done.
With his team down 20 in the closing minutes, Spoelstra waved the white flag and pulled out first Wade, then James, who quickly removed his headband as he got to the bench and then pulled out the mouthpiece inscripted with XVI — the Roman numeral for 16 — the number of wins it takes to get a championship.
When the final horn sounded, the three-time MVP quickly exited the floor.
"When you lose a game like that, all you try to do is move on to the next one," James said. "They’re playing some good basketball. We’re playing pretty good defense on them. We’re not scoring the ball."
Indiana busted open a grind-it-out game with a 17-3 run in the third quarter, doing it with an inside-outside attack that had the Heat wondering what was coming next.
With their boisterous crowd decked out in mustard-yellow "Gold Swagger" T-shirts, the Pacers pushed their lead to 69-55 after three and then held off one brief run by the Heat in the fourth quarter.
Behind Miami’s bench, owner Micky Arison and team president Pat Riley looked on in disbelief.
Despite playing almost 21 minutes and exerting himself on defense, James had enough energy to throw down a vicious left-handed dunk in the final minute of the first half, pulling the Heat even at 43-all. He looked back at the Miami bench as if to say, "How about a little help out here?"
He was doing it all.
Wade, on the other hand, was lost.
He missed all five field-goal attempts, made two turnovers and ran around like a playoff rookie and not a superstar appearing in his 95th career postseason game.
Wade finally made his first field goal with 10:22 left in the third to put Miami up 47-45, but the Pacers went on a 10-1 run with Granger dropping a 3-pointer in front of the Heat bench to make it 55-48 and then playfully skipping down the sideline as Miami called a timeout.Next Page >
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