Thursday, October 23, 2014   

(NBA playoffs) Heat level series with Pacers
(05-21 12:15)

LeBron James scored six straight points to spark a decisive 12-2 run as the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday to leave the Eastern Conference finals level at one game each.
James had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 13 in the first half when the Heat desperately needed them to stay close, and 10 more in the fourth quarter when they had to rally, AP reports.
Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.
Lance Stephenson equaled his playoff career high with 25 points for the Pacers. Paul George scored 14.
The Heat trailed 73-69 with 7:19 left. But James hit a 3-pointer, and then scored the first six points in the rally and the Heat defense gave up only eight points over the final five minutes.
Miami has won 11 straight games following a playoff loss and still has not trailed 2-0 in a series since the first round of the 2012 playoffs.
At times, the rough-and-tumble night took on the aura of a football game, especially late.
George and Wade banged knees while chasing a loose ball, then returned following the ensuing timeout. James crashed hard awkwardly to the floor when West was called for a flagrant one foul in the fourth quarter -- a call later changed to a common foul following a replay review.
"That's what's it's about,'' James said. "It's not going to be pretty. Not in the Eastern Conference. It's never pretty basketball in the Eastern Conference. It's about who can sustain runs. You know, who can get defensive stops? Who can not turn the ball over and who can get great shots? I think we did that in the fourth.''
Defense clearly was the theme of Game 2.
Two days after allowing the Pacers to score 107 points, their most in this year's postseason, Miami rallied in the first half by holding Indiana to just nine points over one 10-minute stretch. And they flipped the game late with a suffocating defense, too.
"We fly around. Game 1 we didn't fly around,'' James said. "We let them dictate everything that they wanted and we didn't play Miami Heat defense. That's what's good about this team, we go back, we watch the film, we own up to what we did, the mistakes that we had, and then we come out and make it happen.''
It was not easy against a Pacers team that chased home-court advantage all season -- only to squander it in the first two games of each of the first three playoff series. Now they'll need a win at Miami to get it back.
The home team had won all five of this season's previous five games between the Eastern powers, and eight straight overall, including last season's playoff series.   
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