Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat return to the court at the AmericanAirlines Arena Tuesday night hoping to build off an awe-inspiring performance from the team’s dynamic duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The last time the Heat were on the court, their proverbial backs were against the wall. The Indiana Pacers had all the momentum in the Eastern Conference semifinals after blowing out the Heat in Game 3.
But LeBron and Wade put on a show for the Indianapolis crowd in Game 4 Sunday by scoring 48 of 50 consecutive points during a run in the second through fourth quarter. LeBron finished with 40 points and 18 rebounds and Wade contributed 30 points and 9 rebounds.
The Heat also finally got a significant contribution from someone not named Wade or James when Udonis Haslem finally found the stroke on his jumpshot and contributed 14 points and 4 rebounds to the Heat’s winning effort.
That was Sunday, now the Heat have to gather themselves together and do it all over again Tuesday night in Game 5.
“We can’t win the series tonight,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’ve had a laser-like focus the last 24 hours because we understand how important this is.”
The Heat may not be able to win the series Tuesday, but they can go a long way towards gaining the momentum in a big way and taking a 3-2 series lead over the Pacers.
Plus, the longer the Heat can prolong their season, the better the chances of power forward Chris Bosh being able to rejoin the lineup. Bosh hasn’t played since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 13. During Game 1, Bosh injured his lower abdominal muscles and has been out ever since.
As mentioned before, Udonis Haslem could once again be the key to the series. If he continues to nail his jumpshot in a pick and pop style of play; the Heat will be deadly. It will open up more lanes for James and Wade by pulling the Pacers’ big men out of the lane.
But, Indiana is ready to give the Heat a heavy dose of center Roy Hibbert and power forward David West. The duo is Indiana’s best weapon against an undersized and undermanned Heat team.
For Indiana, the key may come down to if they can keep the Heat’s big two under 60 points. In the two games the Pacers have done that, they’ve won. But if LeBron and Wade get loose and into a groove like they did on Sunday, the Pacers don’t have an answer for the Heat.
Miami will come out playing strong at home looking to regain home court advantage and send the series to at least six games and maybe seven.
The best of 7 series is now down to a best two out of three with Tuesday’s game being Game 1. Tipoff for Tuesday’s game is set for 8 p.m.