The Miami Heat dominated Game 3 from beginning to end, winning 114-96, to take a 2-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
LeBron James led all scorers with 22 points, Dwyane Wade scored 18 points and contributed 8 assists, while Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh added 17 and 15 points, respectively.
For the Indiana Pacers, David West led with 21 points, Roy Hibbert chipped in 20 points and 17 rebounds, and George Hill scored 19 in the losing effort.
The Heat got a huge contribution from Haslem, who had been a forgotten man as Hibbert focused on protecting the rim. Haslem had been struggling with his jumpshot, but found it again and again as Miami executed the drive and dish game to perfection.
Also big for the Heat, was the bench contribution, which had been struggling in this series. Shane Battier, Ray Allen, and Norris Cole, who had been trying to find their shots all series were able to combine for 15 points, which may sound paltry, but is huge in a series like this, which can be decided by one or two points. The Heat bench wouldn’t be complete without the hustle and energy of Chris “Birdman” Anderson, who pitched in 9 points and 9 rebounds.
The story of this game was simply offensive efficiency. Indiana shot only 40% from the field, and committed 10 turnovers. By comparison, Miami shot 55% from the field and only committed 5 turnovers. With numbers like that, there is no way this Heat team can lose.
The Pacers started hot, shooting the lights out in the 1st quarter, but couldn’t keep up that pace, and that ultimately favored Miami. In addition to the strong offensive play, the Heat picked up the defensive intensity, and the Pacers’ offense had no counter for Miami’s offense. This was the Heat team we’ve seen all season long, and hopefully this is a sign that this team is here to stay.
This series could easily be 3-0 in favor of the Heat, save for the inability to execute at the end of Game 2. However, as it is, the Heat go up 2-1 and begin looking forward to Game 4 on Monday night.