Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There are some times in sports where one or two athletes take things to a level not often seen. That was the case for Heat superstars Dwyane Wade and LeBron James during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Sunday afternoon.
Everything started with a simple play LeBron called. He made a backdoor pass to Wade who came slashing down the lane for a simple dunk. But for Wade, it was anything but simple.
He had struggled mightily in the series up to that point, with the lowest point being Game 3 where he managed to score just 5 points in the entire game. Wade started Game 4 off slowly as well, but midway through the second quarter when he made that dunk, something clicked between Wade and LeBron.
Over the course of the next quarter and a half, LeBron and D-Wade put on a show and essentially beat the Indiana Pacers by themselves for more than half the game. The Heat’s dynamic duo scored 48 of the Heat’s 50 points at one point in the game.
By the time the game ended, LeBron proved why he is the unquestioned most valuable player in the NBA and Wade showed that he still has plenty left in the tank.
LeBron finished with video-game like numbers: 40 points on 14 for 27 shooting, 18 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Wade got rolling again as well scoring 30 points on 12-23 shooting, grabbing 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocked shots, and no turnovers.
For the Heat, the dynamic duo couldn’t manage to finish the job without someone helping them. The role fell on the broad shoulders of power forward Udonis Haslem, and for the first time this season, he responded with a big game right when it counted the most.
Haslem played much of the second-half with an injury just above his eye and a huge bandage over it. Things really came together for Haslem as the second half wore on. He finished with 14 points in Game 4, which were the most points scored by a Heat big man since Chris Bosh went out with injury.
What Haslem did right was finally getting the pick and pop correct. As he would set a screen for another Heat player, he would stay outside for a mid-range jumper and when the player with the ball got in trouble, they would pass to Haslem and for the first time in a long time he drilled the shots.
If the scenario looks familiar, it’s eerily similar to what happened last year when the Heat were on the ropes against the Chicago Bulls and Udonis Haslem came back and sparked the team all the way to the NBA Finals.
Sunday it was a new Big Three that showed up as Udonis Haslem finally took the place of Chris Bosh like many had expected him to over the last two games. Speaking of Bosh, there’s been no official word on how his recovery is progressing, but he’s still listed as out indefinitely.
The dynamic duo of LeBron and Wade will look to continue their torrid play when the teams return to the AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday for Game 5. Momentum has clearly shifted the Heat’s direction and if the team can win at home Tuesday; it’s a whole new series.
The longer the Heat play in the playoff, the higher the chance that Bosh can come back this season becomes. But the Heat have said they will not rush Bosh back from his injury.
Game 5 tips off at 8 pm at the AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday.