Getting their usual depth of strong performances, spurred by 19 points and 18 rebounds from Roy Hibbert, the Pacers blew out the bickering Heat 94-75 to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series before a raucous sellout crowd of 18,165 Thursday in Bankers Life Arena.
Indiana will attempt to gain a stranglehold on the series in Game 4 on Sunday at home.
The Pacers blew it open with a 19-3 run in the third quarter that built a 14-point lead, a run that included an intense argument between Dwyane Wade and Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra during a timeout, and kept the lead in double digits the rest of the way.
By The Numbers
Hibbert's point total was a playoff career high, while his rebound number was an overall career best. He made 9 of 16 shots and had five rejections. George Hill scored 20 with five assists, making 6 of 8 shots including 3 of 4 from the 3-point line for the Pacers. Danny Granger had his best game of the series with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and David West had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Pacers shot 43 percent overall, made 8 of 14 from the 3-point line and outrebounded Miami 52-36.
Mario Chalmers led Miami with a postseason career high 25 points, adding six rebounds and five assists. LeBron James scored 22 but needed 22 shots to get there, attempting just three free rows. He added seven rebounds and four turnovers. But the big story was the lack of production from Wade, who was listless throughout and managed just five points, five rebounds and five turnovers while shooting just 2 of 13. Miami shot 37 percent for the game and had more turnovers (14) than assists (nine).
"Certainly happy with the win but we understand we have a lot of work to do. We're not going to get overjoyed for getting this victory. Very proud of our guys for a great effort. The game was won once again with defense and rebounding, and that's this team's identity is about, led by Roy Hibbert who anchored our paint, five blocked shots, 19 points, 18 boards, one of the best games I've ever seen him play. And just a balanced attack on the offensive end." – Pacers Coach Frank Vogel
"Paul George is one of the top five most versatile defenders in the NBA. He's doing a great job on Wade. Wade had an off night. When he did get free he didn't knock down shots. We can't give Paul all the credit. Wade's too good of a player to have shooting nights like he had tonight but Paul is just competing, he's growing by the day and we're just happy about what his future looks like." – Vogel
"We're not going to be pushed around. We're not going to let folks think they can intimidate us by any means. We don't have guys like that in this locker room. We just want to be smart in those situations, maintain our composure, understand we can go out and execute and that's the best way to respond to little stuff like that." – West
"We still aren't playing great basketball. I don't think we've put together a complete game. This was a pretty good game for us but we still have a lot of areas we can improve." – West
"That's why he's an All-Star this year. He's a big part of this team, not just scoring but defensively. His favorite saying is 'send them to big dog.' When we're in trouble, he's our bail-out." – Hill on Hibbert
"It's still a long series. Anything can happen. We've got to stay focused on us, not worry about what they're doing, continue to play our game defensively and offensively and we should be fine." – Hill
"He was really blocking shots in the paint, rebounding everything that came off the goal and scoring in the post. It was by far the best game I've seen him play." – Granger on Hibbert
"All the gold, I was almost blind. I hadn't seen it like this since I've been here, fans going crazy. Just thankful so many fans came out to support us. The energy early was so off the charts I lost my breath at about 2 minutes. I don't think I've ever been that tired, so much adrenaline was running through us. But the energy was amazing." – Granger on the crowd
"Two wins means absolutely nothing. The series still has a long way to go, they're still a really good team, so we have to keep our edge and play like we're down 2-1." – Granger
"My primary focus, coach told me going into this series and the last series, was defense. I’ve embraced that role. I let the offense come to me and try to be an anchor of the paint and make things difficult for the other team." – Hibbert
"We have veterans that can manage their emotions in the playoffs. All of it can change with a win. Anybody who has been a coach or a player has no idea how often those things happen." – Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra on his confrontation with Wade
"I guess I made history tonight. It was a bad night." – Wade
"He obviously wasn’t himself. He wants to play better of course. He’s one of the best players in the world and he’ll be better in game four. He’s the captain of this team and we look forward to that." – James on Wade
Stat of the Game
Wade started 0-for-5 and went scoreless in the first half for the first time in his postseason career, a span of 95 games.
As they did in Game 2, the Pacers opened a cushion with a dominating third-quarter run, outscoring Miami 19-3 to take a 64-50 lead with Granger scoring eight, including a pair of 3-pointers. The Heat, meanwhile, appeared to unravel as Wade angrily confronted Spoelstra during a timeout before teammates intervened to separate the two. The Pacers held Miami to 4-of-17 shooting in the period and outrebounded the Heat 15-6 in taking a 69-55 lead into the fourth.
Chalmers scored seven in a row as the Heat cut it to 76-65 but Hill answered with 11 points in a 16-6 counter that put it away.
For the third game in a row, the Pacers came out strong, jumping to an 11-2 start. For the third game in a row, the lead did not survive the first quarter. Miami dominated the final 7½ minutes of the period, making 10 shots in a row in a 24-6 run. James scored nine and Chalmers eight as the Heat took a 26-17 lead into the second period. The Pacers, on the other hand, missed their final nine shots of the quarter.
Hill brought the Pacers back in the second quarter, scoring seven in a row in a 15-5 run that put the home team back in front 41-38 and the teams went into the locker room tied 43-all. Hibbert (12 points, 10 rebounds) had a double-double by halftime.
West picked up the Pacers' second technical foul of the series with 8:41 left in the third quarter for confronting Chalmers after a hard foul by Shane Battier. … Granger got the third with 1:32 left in the third for confronting James after the Miami star responded to a foul by throwing a high elbow. … The Pacers have won two straight games against the Miami for the first time since March 2009. … The Pacers’ 94 points matched the most given up by the Heat in the 2012 postseason. … Miami’s 75 points tied its fewest in the postseason, matching its Game 2 total. …
Including 4-of-20 tonight, the Heat are 5-of-42 from 3-point range in the series (11.9 percent). …
Including 26-12 tonight, the Pacers have outscored the Heat, 54-26, in the third quarters of the last two games. … Miami’s 12 points in the third quarter tonight are the fewest scored against the Pacers in any quarter this postseason. … Spoelstra made a radical lineup change, benching post players Udonis Haslem and Ronny Turiaf. Battier moved into the lineup at small forward Dexter Pittman made his first career playoff appearance as the starting center. James shifted to power forward in a grouping of players that spent nine minutes together during the regular season. Pittman lasted just 3½ minutes before heading to the bench. … Among the celebrities in attendance were IndyCar drivers Rubens Barrichello and Tony Kanaan, former Colts running back Edgerrin James, former NBA guard Rod Strickland and Colts defensive end Robert Mathis. … The Pacers distributed 18,165 bright gold t-shirts bearing the slogan "Gold Swagger" on each seat in the arena before the game. … Even the team's mascot, Boomer, traded in his blue fur for gold.
Game 4 will come Sunday in Indianapolis (3:30 p.m., ABC). If necessary, Game 5 will be back in Miami Tuesday, May 22 at a time to be determined (TNT), Game 6 will be in Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, May 24, and Game 7 would be in Miami Saturday, May 26.