The Heat soundly defeated the Pacers 90-79 in the pivotal Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, to take a 3-2 series lead.
LeBron James paced (pun intended) the Heat with 30 points, to go along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Udonis Haslem scored 16 points, and Mario Chalmers added 12.
For the Pacers, Paul George led with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Roy Hibbert added 22 points, and David West scored 17 points.
This game didn’t have the ridiculous amount of calls that Game 4 had, but the storyline of Indiana dominating the paint in the 1st half remained the same. That is, until it became the LeBron James show and he decided it was time to leave his mark on the game. He came out in the 3rd quarter and completely dominated. He finished the quarter with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists and along with Haslem, turned a 4 point halftime deficit into a 13 point lead headed into the 4th. His energy and effort is what broke the game open and gave the Heat the edge for good. This game was more along the lines of what happened in Game 3. LeBron asserted himself over and over again, and when he drove looking to pass, Haslem was ready to knock down the jumper.
Haslem had another amazing game, scoring 16 points on 8-9 shooting, and providing a possible series-changing moment. Midway through the 3rd, Chalmers and West got into each other’s faces. Seeing that, Haslem stepped in West’s face and they stared each other down. That moment woke the Heat up and they never looked back again.
As the series shifts back to Indiana, the Heat have an opportunity to eliminate the Pacers in the same fashion they did in last season’s series. Obviously it’s going to be a battle, but the Heat’s role players have to continue to do their parts and if that happens, this series will end on Saturday night.