MIAMI, May 12 (Ticker) --
Rookie Dwyane Wade
and the Miami Heat are
making believers out of the Indiana Pacers.
Wade made a pair of clutch baskets down the stretch as the Heat
turned back the Pacers, 100-88, and evened their Eastern
Conference semifinal series at two games each.
In front of a raucous sellout crowd at American Airlines Arena,
the Heat won their 18th straight home game and second straight
against the top-seeded Pacers, whose frustration became obvious
with some rough stuff late in the game.
NBA TV highlights from|
Lamar Odom was 9-for-13 from the field in Game 4 of the East semis.
Eliot J. Schecter/Getty Images/NBAE
"I think they believe they are a lot better than us," Wade said.
"Today was a great game for them offensively, but it didn't
result in a win."
"We really haven't faced any adversity yet, but we are facing it
now," Pacers forward Austin Croshere
said. "This is our
scored 22 points, Caron Butler
added 21 and Wade 20
for Miami, offsetting huge games by Indiana All-Star forwards
and Ron Artest
, who combined for 65 points.
"This is the first challenge we've had in two rounds," O'Neal
said. "This is a new situation for us. We just need to play our
game. I know the coaches are frustrated because they've done
all they can do."
"Who would have thought we would be 2-2 at this point?" said
Odom, who made 9-of-13 shots. "Everybody tells us we can't do
it, but we keep battling and battling."
Odom scored 10 points in the third quarter, when the Heat
grabbed the lead for good. But as he has throughout the
postseason, Wade made the big baskets in the fourth quarter.
The Pacers cut an 11-point deficit to 88-84 before Wade sank a
jumper to stall the rally. On the next possession, he dribbled
into the lane, drew contact and flipped in a shot. His free
throw made it 92-84 with 2:52 to go.
After two foul shots by Butler, Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley
ejected for a flagrant foul on Eddie Jones
that touched off a
brief shoving match. Just over a minute later, Artest nailed
Wade with a flagrant foul.
"They're the No. 1 seed and they didn't expect this to happen,
so I think they were trying to make a statement going back there
(to Indiana)," Wade said.
O'Neal scored 37 points and Artest added 28, but they were the
only Pacers in double figures. By contrast, the Heat had six
players in double figures as they scored 100 points in the
postseason for the first time since May 18, 1997, ending a
drought of 38 games.
"The balance in our scoring was a big key for us," Butler said.
"Their two main guys, their All-Stars, had great games, but we
were able to keep the rest of the team limited."
Game Five is Saturday at Indiana, where the Pacers have not lost
since March 19. The Heat are 0-5 on the road in the playoffs.
"Is it time to panic? No," said Pacers guard Reggie Miller
missed all five of his shots. "What we have to do is to look at
the film, see where we made mistakes, and figure out how to
correct it. We're probably lucky to be 2-2. The pressure is on
us in Game Five. We have to find a way to step up."
O'Neal scored 26 points and Artest 16 in the first half, but the
Pacers could not pull away, settling for a 56-53 lead.
"That's a very intense basketball team," Heat coach Stan Van
Gundy said. "We knew they would come out with great energy and
intensity, but our guys were up to the challenge."
Odom's jumper capped an 8-0 burst that opened the third quarter.
He had consecutive dunks before two free throws by Wade made it
76-67 late in the period.
"I have to dribble myself into a rhythm and shoot over those
guys," Odom said.
Heat center Brian Grant
suffered a dislocated finger late in the
game and left the floor. He said he would play Saturday "with
a splint or some kind of support."