James, Wade score 70 points to Pacers
INDIANA - Reuters
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (L) nearly missed finishing the game with a triple-double, as he had 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists against the Pacers. REUTERS photoLeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 70 points as the Miami Heat recovered from back-to-back defeats to grind down the Indiana Pacers 101-93 on May 20 and level the NBA’s Eastern conference semifinal at 2-2.
The Heat, who struggled in their previous games after Chris Bosh was ruled out with an abdominal injury, trailed by eight points at halftime but snatched the momentum when James and Wade took control in a dominant third quarter.
“This is what the playoffs are all about. It’s just survival,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
James, named last week as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, scored 40 points, with 18 rebounds and nine assists.
Wade, who was subdued in Game Three, responded with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists as the Heat sparkled in a stunning return to form.
“Me and ‘Bron had it going,” said Wade. “We played off of each other very well. We both were aggressive at the same time. That’s beautiful basketball for the Miami Heat when we play that way.”
Forward Danny Granger led Indiana with 20 points but the Pacers were powerless to curtail James and Wade in a rampant third quarter.
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs steamrolled into the NBA Western Conference finals after a 102-99 win over the Los Angeles Clippers gave them a clean sweep of their seven-game series.
The West’s top seeds rolled to their 18 consecutive victory going back to the regular season as the Clippers fell to the same fate as the Utah Jazz in the first round, exiting the playoffs after being swept.
Sunday’s game was tight, and San Antonio trailed by one with two and half minutes remaining, but Tony Parker answered with a pair of clutch baskets and the visiting Spurs showed the nerve that has seen them dominate the NBA over the past month.
“We needed a game like that,” Parker told reporters. “That was a great game for our young guys to get some experience. At the end of the game we executed our plays and made big baskets.”
San Antonio will play either Oklahoma City or the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference title.