INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James turned up his game at the perfect time Tuesday night for the Miami Heat.
Faced with the possibility of the first two-game playoff deficit during his time in Miami, James scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Heat to a 87-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Miami’s win tied the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece. Game 3 will be played Saturday night in Miami. The Pacers were winless in two games at AmericanAirlines Arena during the regular season.
James, who was held to 10 points through three quarters while being defended closely by Indiana forward Paul George, scored six points and had an assist in a key 10-0 Miami run in the fourth quarter.
When Miami began that run, it trailed the Pacers by three points after a basket by Indiana center Roy Hibbert. When the 10-point streak ended with a basket by Miami guard Dwyane Wade, the Heat led 82-75 with less than three minutes left.
Wade led the Heat with 23 points. Forward/center Chris Andersen came off the bench to grab a team-high 12 rebounds, and reserve guard Norris Cole scored 11 points.
Indiana guard Lance Stephenson scored a game-high 25 points. George added 14 points. Hibbert had 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, and guard George Hill scored 13.
The Pacers received a scare when George went down after a collision in the fourth quarter and stayed on the floor for about two minutes. After being helped to the bench during a timeout, George returned to the game.
James, who scored 25 points in the opening game of the series Sunday, was held to six points in the first half. He went more than eight minutes into the game before scoring his first basket. James also uncharacteristically missed two consecutive free throws in the second quarter.
Hibbert was a dominant presence inside. He had nine rebounds in the first half, more than twice the total of any other player. At one point in the opening quarter, he tapped back offensive rebounds to teammates on two consecutive misses. Miami forward Udonis Haslem, who started to help slow down Indiana forward David West, wound up matching up with Hibbert.
Stephenson scored 10 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer with 2:57 that gave Indiana a six-point lead.
NOTES: Miami F Udonis Haslem, who started instead of Game 1 starter Shane Battier, scored seven points, but his defense helped the Heat limit Pacers F David West to 10 points. … Indiana G/F Evan Turner was back on the Pacers’ bench after missing Sunday’s game due to strep throat. He has played in 11 of Indiana’s 14 postseason games, but he did not see action Tuesday. … Because the series does not resume until Game 3 is played Saturday night in Miami, Spoelstra said the Heat would take Wednesday off. They will next practice Thursday. … The Pacers have not won a game in Miami since Game 2 of the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. … Of those still playing in the postseason, Indiana F Paul George ranks No. 1 in steals with 2.21 per game. However, he has just one to Miami F LeBron James’ five through the series’ first two games.
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