He had to work for almost every basket against a defense that isn't afraid to beat him up a little, but LeBron manufactured points down the stretch to wrest control of the game for the Heat. Once the game slowed down and became a set affair, James took over with his bullying, shot-making and defense along the perimeter.
Among the house specials in Wade's insane 22-point first quarter were the weakside baseline cut, seasonal Eurostep, buttery fall-away rainbow and delectable 90-foot alley-oop baseball pass to James at the rim. We've seen explosive individual quarters this season, but nothing as aesthetically pleasing as the portfolio Wade unfurled during the first 12 minutes.
For whatever reason, Bosh seems slightly more removed from the center of what the Heat do in the half court than he was in December, when he was the focal point of much of the offense. He hit a pair of big buckets in the fourth, including a huge 3-pointer to tie the game with about nine minutes to play, but he still is hesitating on his midrange J.
The Heat played spells of their signature shutdown D, but the machine-like quality of the defense they were playing through most of December went in fits and starts during the middle two quarters. The perfect communication on pick-and-roll coverages comes and goes, while rotations aren't as crisp. Yet when the game was on the line, the old bit returned.
The sequence of back-to-back 3s to give them their first tie of the game was pure Pacers. A simple dribble hand-off got Paul George the first, followed by an inbounds steal by Darren Collison that created an open look for Danny Granger. Despite falling short, Indiana again looked like a very good team against Miami, especially during its surge back from 24 down.