Once again, it was the LeBron-Wade show, but this time it was Wade getting the lead role. LeBron missed a fast-break layup late in the second quarter and was slow to get up after colliding with a cameraman. The trainer looked at his left ankle, but LeBron shrugged it off. LeBron brought out all the tricks in his bag Thursday night, including a running hook shot on Roy Hibbert.
What a difference a week makes. Wade was hotter than a Miami summer afternoon and sliced through the Pacers' defense with more precision than a Miami plastic surgeon. It was more stunning to watch considering how awful he looked just a week ago when he went scoreless in the first half on the same court. Wade eliminated the Pacers, bank shot by bank shot.
Although Shane Battier recently joked that the banged-up Miller needs a "body-ectomy," the former Gator continues to gut out big plays and critical minutes. Miller helped bring the Heat back with an array of timely 3-pointers, helping to close an early deficit in the first half. It's almost unbearable to watch him hobble up and down the court, but he just refuses to quit.
This was a classic Mario bipolar performance. Sometimes you got the Good Mario with critical 3-point makes, tip-ins and heady flops. Other times you got the Bad Mario with a series of needless off-the-ball fouls. For the Heat though, the zero in the turnover column is perhaps the most important thing.
Another hot start that evaporated quickly, but in the grand scheme of things, this was another step forward for the blossoming group. With Larry Bird's S-O-F-T comments fresh in mind, the Pacers dominated the paint early by feeding the ball to David West in the post against Shane Battier. But they simply couldn't get a gimpy Danny Granger going and the bench pretty much gave them nothing.