“I just kept reminding them of that and our response is the next one.”
The Heat took its first lead (47-46) since the beginning of the game when Haslem threw down a dunk with 9:37 left in the third quarter. From there, the series went supernova and burned white hot deep into the fourth quarter.
Roy Hibbert blocked Chris Bosh’s dunk attempt with 7:01 left in the third quarter on a play that was reminiscent of Hibbert’s iconic block against Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Then, during the next few minutes, the series would be defined by the intensity of Haslem and James and, oh yeah, some pretty timely jump shots.
On the possession following Hibbert’s dunk, Haslem, Mario Chalmers and David West each received technical fouls for their creative interpretations of the English language. Initially, Chalmers and West got into it under the basket. Haslem then flew in from the periphery to push West off of his teammate and the tinderbox ignited.
“My emotions kind of got the best of me tonight,” Haslem said. “We really, really needed it, and it kind of just came out of me.”
Said Pacers forward George: “The momentum swung their way after that.”
Referees had to pull Haslem away as he lobbed insults and pointed fingers in West’s general direction.
The altercation seemed to embolden James, who started jacking up shots after the near-fight like he was at an arcade Pop-A-Shot. Good thing for James and the Heat, the shots went down.
Haslem was locked in as well. He scored 10 points in the third quarter and finished the game 8 of 9 from the field for 16 points.
“That burned us,” Vogel said of Haslem’s clutch midrange shooting. Dwyane Wade was 3 of 8 overall for 10 points. Bosh, who favored his injured ankle from the game’s tipoff, had seven points for the second game in a row. He also contributed five rebounds. His counterpart, Hibbert, had 22 points and six rebounds. He was 8 of 14 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free-throw line.
James’ 16 points in the third period were a Heat postseason high for points in a quarter.
An isolation, spot-up three-pointer by James gave the Heat a 61-55 lead with 3:16 left in the third period. It was an ill-advised shot, but James was the only player making a difference at that point and the Heat needed a spark. It also gave Miami its largest lead.
After James’ first three-pointer of the quarter, Haslem scored six points in a row to put the Heat ahead 67-55. James’ three-pointer with 16.1 seconds left in the period gave Miami a 70-57 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Earlier, it took Chris Andersen losing his cool for the Heat to show any signs of life, but even after Andersen nearly shoved Tyler Hansbrough into Biscayne Bay the Heat still struggled offensively. Meanwhile, the Pacers’ starters scored 39 of their teams 44 points in the first half. Indiana led the Heat 44-40 at the break.