Heat give ball to James, get out of the way


The Heat were near perfect in the third quarter.

The Miami Heat have been dominant this postseason when coming off losses. After Thursday’s win over the Indiana Pacers, the Heat are 3-0 following defeats, winning by an average margin of 22 points.

They’ve shot 55 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range in those three wins. That’s part of the reason Miami hasn’t lost consecutive games in nearly six months.

How did the Heat win Game 5? Let’s take a closer look.

Turning Point: LeBron’s dominant third quarter:

LeBron James outscored the Pacers 16-13 in the third quarter. He scored or assisted on 25 of the Heat’s 30 points in the quarter.

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James made five shots in the final 6:04 of the quarter, all from a distance of 16 feet or longer. He finished 9-for-18 on shots at least 15 feet in length, his most makes from that distance in any playoff game with the Heat. James was 4-for-4 on the pick-and-roll in the quarter, part of a quarter in which the Heat shot 8-for-9 on pick-and-rolls.

James finished with his fourth 30-point game this postseason, his third this series. He attempted a postseason-high 26 field goals.

James’ 30-point, 8-rebound, 6-assist line in Game 5 was the fifth 30-8-6 line in a tied conference finals game in the past quarter-century. He had one of the other four in that span (in 2007).

The others were by Charles Barkley (1993), Hakeem Olajuwon (1995) and Kobe Bryant (2010). In each case, that player's team went on to win the series.

James touched the basketball 86 times in Game 5. He averaged 73 touches in the first four games. His touches came at the expense of Dwyane Wade (48) and Chris Bosh (21), each of whose total touches was a series low.

Inside the Pacers' struggles

The Pacers' starting frontcourt combined for 66 points and shot 53 percent from the field. But the support they got from the rest of the team was minimal -- 13 points on 5-for-20 shooting.

Indiana was held to six offensive rebounds. The Pacers had at least 11 offensive boards in each of the other four games in this series.

George Hill and Lance Stephenson combined for five points and six turnovers.

Elias Sports Bureau noted that's the second-fewest combined points by a starting backcourt in the past 40 postseasons, with both players playing at least 25 minutes.

The only backcourt with fewer was the Cavaliers' Delonte West and Mo Williams, who combined for four points in Game 4 of their 2009 first-round series against the Pistons.

The Pacers committed 18 turnovers. They are 1-6 this postseason when committing at least 17 turnovers in a game.

Looking ahead

In a best-of-seven series tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win the series 83.4 percent (141-28) of the time.