MIAMI - - Minutes after Le-Bron James tightroped the sidelines and lofted a lob pass to a streaking Dwyane Wade while falling out of bounds, Wade returned the favor with a baseball-style feed to James.
Both plays resulted in dunks that energized the AmericanAirlines Arena crowd and both forced the Indiana Pacers to call a timeout, hoping to stem the momentum that clearly was in Miami's favor.
But for Indiana very little was working, on court or in the huddle, especially in the second half when the Heat regained control of this Eastern Conference semifinal series with a convincing 115-83 victory Tuesday, giving Miami a 3-2 lead with Game 6 scheduled for Thursday at Indiana.
The Heat took control late in the first half. A 21-7 run that began in the second quarter concluded with Wade's dunk on the James feed midway through the third quarter that made the score 61-45.
"We wanted to come in with a much better energy and focus -we did that quarter," coach Erik Spoelstra said about the third period.
Miami's lead was 76-57 after three quarters and the only question was who would be available for Game 6.
Both teams have issues. Miami, already missing its best big man in Chris Bosh (abdominal strain) could lose forward Udonis Haslem for a game after the league reviews his flagrant foul on Tyler Hansbrough in the second quarter.
Haslem, seeking revenge for Hansbrough's flagrant foul on Wade a minute early, hammered Hansbrough on a jump shot, making no attempt at the ball.
The Pacers lost leading scorer Danny Granger, who sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and left for good early in the second half.
David West suffered a left knee injury in the second half and did not play in the fourth quarter.
Miami, which trailed 2-1 in the series before being rescued by James and Wade in Indiana on Sunday, once again relied on its dynamic duo to pull within a win of meeting Boston or Philadelphia for the right to advance to the NBA Finals.
The Celtics lead 3-2 and could close out the 76ers tonight.
James and Wade were dominant again, combining for 58 points - 30 by James and 28 by Wade - on 22-of-36 shooting. The Heat shot a franchise playoff-record 61.4 percent from the floor.
"I felt good today," Wade said. "I was in a groove and I let the game come to me. No question this was a total team effort but it felt good for me to put together two (good) games."
They two had plenty of help.
Shane Battier started the game with three three-pointers in the first seven minutes, had 13 points, and finished 4-of-5 on threes. Point guard Mario Chalmers grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds
James had his typical complete game, falling two assists short of a triple-double. James had 10 rebounds and eight assists, playing a series-low 38 minutes.
The Pacers leading scorer, Paul George, had just 11 points.
The teams started taking the physical play personally early in the second quarter with two flagrant 1 fouls, one on each team, within a minute.
The Hansbrough drew first blood, literally, when he took a swipe at Wade on a drive to the basket. Wade sustained a cut over his right eye, same spot that Haslem was cut by a Lou Admundson elbow Sunday in Indiana.
Wade made 1-of-2 free throws and then hit a bank shot after having the blood wiped from his face.
Less than a minute later Haslem had his buddy's back, lowering the boom on Hansbrough. No blood was shed but the message was loud and clear, something the league likely will not appreciate.
Haslem's foul was more physical and more intentional than Hansbrough's, which could play a part in the league's ruling when it is reviewed.
The league will review the foul and has the option of suspending Haslem for Game 6.
A third flagrant foul was called late in the game when Heat reserve Dexter Pittman threw a violent elbow at Lance Stephenson, the player who gave the choke sign to James in Game 3.
"Game 6 is going to physical," Wade said. We got to understand that."
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