A week after one of the worst performances of his postseason career, Dwyane Wade authored one of his best.
Wade's five-points, 2-of-13 outing in the Pacers' Game 3 victory opened the door to dreams of an Indiana upset in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. His remarkable 41-point explosion in Game 6 Thursday slammed it shut.
With Wade taking over the game, Miami knocked off the Pacers 105-93 to close out the series 4-2 before another sellout crowd of 18,165 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Heat will face the winner of the Boston-Philadelphia series in the Eastern Conference Finals.
By The Numbers
David West scored 24 on 10 of 16 shooting to lead the Pacers. George Hill scored 18 with five assists. Danny Granger played 38 minutes on a sprained left ankle and produced 15 points on 6 of 14 shooting. Roy Hibbert had 12 points and eight rebounds and Paul George had his second postseason double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Pacers shot 49 percent but committed 22 turnovers.
Wade made 17 of 25 shots (68 percent) for his 41 points, adding 10 rebounds. LeBron James scored 28 with seven assists and six rebounds, while Mario Chalmers scored 15 and Mike Miller 12 on four 3-pointers. Miami shot 54 percent.
"Extremely proud of our guys and our team for the effort they put forth this year and the strides they made to become a heck of a basketball team." - Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"When Wade and James are going like they were going tonight, they're going to be tough to beat by anybody. I'm extremely proud of our guys. We just didn't have enough, yet. Hopefully we'll be back to see these guys again in the future." - Vogel
"Chris Bosh is an awesome basketball player but when he goes down that just means more touches for LeBron and Wade and that's not exactly an advantage. You've just got to give credit to those guys. They were spectacular this series and they were just too much for us." - Vogel
"Our guys just competed their hearts out. They laid everything on the line. Guys played more minutes than they're used to. They gave it everything they had and it wasn't enough." - Vogel
"We had a bad stretch where they clipped us in the third quarter. We weren't strong enough with the ball and didn't take care of it enough. They're too good and they capitalize on your mistakes." - David West
"I think we feel like we had an opportunity to play a little bit longer. This series was there for the taking. I just thought we got on our heels the last three games basically. They were aggressive with their two main guys and they were just too much for us. We didn't have enough resistance to limit them and they just dominated the games from start to finish." - West
"We beat ourselves. Credit those guys for the jobs they did, the nights they had but at the same time we beat ourselves." - George
"We can't turn the ball over if we want to win. If we want to beat a team like the Heat we have to be perfect. Perfection's hard but we have to strive for it." - Hibbert
"They've done a terrific job with this ballclub. They quietly made some great moves, getting seasoned playoff-tested players in David West and George Hill, and didn't really catch a lot of headlines. They went under the radar. And then you pick up Barbosa during the year, they've done a great job of adding to an already good young crew of players. They're also well-coached and they play hard. There's no doubt about it." - Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra on the Pacers
Stat of the Game
In Miami's four victories, James and Wade combined for 258 points (130 for James, 128 for Wade), an average of 64.5 per game. Indiana's five starters combined to average 63.2 points in the series.
The Pacers' best chance to make a serious challenge came early in the fourth quarter. After a three-point play by West cut Miami's lead to 83-78 with 9:17 remaining, Hill came up with a steal, leading to a long possession in which the Pacers got three opportunities at a bucket that would've cut it to a one-possession game. But they missed two shots before Hibbert was called for an illegal screen and Miami quickly responded with a 7-1 burst to push the lead to 90-79. The Pacers closed to 97-91 on a tip-in by Hibbert with 2:29 left but would get no closer.
Wade kept Miami in the game in the first half but started to get some help in the third period as Chalmers and Miller closed the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to cap a 13-3 run that sent the Heat into the fourth quarter with a 79-69 lead -- with 10 of the points in that run coming from Chalmers, Miller and Joel Anthony. The Pacers shot 6 of 17 and committed six turnovers in the period and were outscored 28-16.
The first half was a see-saw exchange of runs. The Pacers came out of the gate on a 19-8 burst, hitting nine of their first 11 shots. But Miami answered with a 23-7 burst carried by Wade (12 points) and Mike Miller (nine), hitting 10 of 12 as the Pacers went scoreless from the field for more than 7½ minutes. Indiana's starters then responded 10-0, with Hibbert and Granger scoring four each, and the Pacers took a 53-51 lead into the break.
Wade scored 20 of his 26 first-half points in the second quarter to carry Miami, while West (14), Granger (13), Hill (10) and Hibbert (eight) combined to shoot 19 of 25 (.760) in the half. The rest of the Pacers were 1 of 9.
In the third periods of the last three games of the series, Miami outscored Indiana 85-49 as the Pacers shot 18 of 56 from the field (.321). Thursday night, the Heat's advantage was 28-16 as the Pacers shot 6 of 17 and committed six turnovers. … When the Pacers quickly built a 19-8 lead, it marked the sixth time in 11 playoff games they took a double-digit lead in the first quarter. … James appeared to tweak his ankle or foot when he landed awkwardly on a baseline photographer after missing a layup late in the first half but did not miss any time. … George picked up a technical foul for jawing with Wade early in the first quarter and West was T'd up for smacking Shane Battier in the head in the third. … The Pacers were whistled for six technicals in the series. … The Pacers averaged 40.7 points in the second halves of the last three games. … After having 20-plus turnovers just two times in the first 72 games, the Pacers did so twice in the last four games. … Miami’s five offensive rebounds, 21 defensive rebounds and 26 total boards were all the fewest by an Indiana opponent this postseason … Former Pacers George McGinnis, Rik Smits, Don Buse and Derrick McKey were in attendance, as were Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ryan Briscoe and NFL standout Ndamukong Suh of the Detroit Lions. Television and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer sat with close friend Pat Riley. … Former Miss America Katie Stam, a native of Seymour, Ind., sang the national anthem.
The NBA Draft is June 28. The Pacers hold the No. 26 pick in the first round. Their second-round pick, No. 56 overall, went to Toronto in the trade for Leandro Barbosa.