partlycloudy
Friday July 31st, 2015 5:24PM

Heat rally late, beat Pacers 99-87 in Game 3

By The Associated Press
MIAMI -- Down by 15 early, the Miami Heat could have hit the panic button.

Instead, they found a way to move within two wins of another trip to the NBA Finals.

LeBron James scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade added 23 and the Heat shook off a horrid start to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-87 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, taking a 2-1 lead and breaking a back-and-forth trend in the rivalry. The teams had alternated wins and losses in 13 straight meetings - until now.

Miami trailed 37-22 before outscoring Indiana 77-50 the rest of the way.

"A lot of our situations that we've been through where we've struggled have been against this team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's what they do to you. They're very good. It's a function of their defense.

"But we had no choice but try to re-gather."

That they did.

And then some.

Ray Allen added all 16 points in the second half to lead a late-game charge for the Heat, who will host Game 4 on Monday night. And it was the second time this season the Heat rallied from 15 points down to beat the Pacers in Miami - it also happened on Dec. 18.

"Tough loss for our guys," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "Thought we competed pretty well, came out of the gates really strong, got off to a good start and then didn't manage our foul trouble well and didn't manage picking up their defensive intensity well."

It's the third straight series where the Pacers have faced a deficit.

"A ton," Vogel said when asked how much resiliency the Pacers have left. "It's very early in the series."

Paul George scored 17 points for Indiana, shooting 5 for 13 in his return after being concussed late in Game 2. Roy Hibbert had 16 points and David West added 13 for the Pacers, who never trailed until early in the third quarter.

Miami started the game 2 for 10 from the floor. The Heat then made 21 of their next 31 shots, including eight straight in the third that gave the two-time defending NBA champions their first lead.

James' dunk with 7:36 remaining in the third put Miami up 52-51. That was the first of nine lead changes in the quarter, before the Heat did what Spoelstra implored his team to do in a pregame locker room address.

"Impose our identity," Spoelstra said.

Eventually, the message reached the Heat, and their two best players led the way.

James' 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the third put Miami up 67-63, then its biggest lead of the night. Wade subbed in for James with 5.7 seconds left because the four-time MVP was dealing with what appeared to be a hamstring cramp and connected on a 3-pointer with 1.4 ticks remaining for a 74-67 lead going into the fourth.

James retreated toward the locker room at that point, stopping halfway down the hallway known as "Championship Alley" while trainer Mike Mancias stretched him out. Meanwhile, Wade - not exactly known for behind-the-arc prowess - opened the fourth quarter with another 3, the Heat were up 10 and the floodgates were opening.

"I wasn't going to leave until I saw what he was going to do," said James, who watched the first of those 3s by Wade before departing for treatment.

Added Wade: "I can shoot the 3 ball. I just decide not to."

Indiana got to 76-74 before Allen made a 3-pointer, and with that, the tone was set for the final minutes. Allen made three 3s in the final 5:59, the last putting Miami up by 15.

"I think we need to stick to what we do," West said. "We got away from ourselves. We tried to make some stuff on the fly, which is not us."

The halftime score looked ugly: Pacers 42, Heat 38.

That didn't even come close to describing how much Miami struggled at times. Here's one example: After 11 minutes, it was Hibbert 10, Heat 10.

Indiana led 19-5 early and 37-22 midway through the second. Luis Scola scored eight points off the bench in less than three minutes, and the Pacers were rolling.

Or at least, looked like they were rolling.

In the final 6:22 of the half, they had more turnovers (six) than points (five). And Miami took advantage, especially after George went to the bench with his third foul. Wade and James combined for 14 of Miami's final 18 points in the second, and a pair of short shots by Wade in the final minute helped pull the Heat within four at the break.

Second half, different story. Indiana scored 45 points. James, Wade and Allen combined for 47 themselves.

"When they made a run," Lance Stephenson said, "we never responded."

NOTES: Commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance, posing with plenty of fans for photos. ... Stephenson had nine rebounds by halftime. The Heat, in total, had 11. ... Heat F Shane Battier, announced earlier in the day as the winner of the league's Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award, got his trophy in a pregame ceremony from 2013 recipient Chauncey Billups. ... Greg Oden was active for Miami for the first time since Game 4 of the opening round.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 6 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 7 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 7 months ago )
Sports
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 7 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 7 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 7 months ago )
Professional Sports
Pair from Gainesville win Atlanta Junior Golf titles
Gainesville High School's Ryan Hogan won the AJGA Grand Championship, and Gainesville Middle School's Sam Patterson won the AJGA 9-Hole Club Championship.
By AccessWDUN
1:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
Dodgers bolster pitching in huge deal with Braves, Marlins
ATLANTA (AP) — The first-place Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their pitching staff on the eve of the trade deadline, completing a 13-player deal with the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins that sent two...
By The Associated Press
12:43PM ( 4 hours ago )
Gainesville man wins 'gold' at Special Olympics World Games
A young Gainesville man has won the gold medal in the 500-meter kayak event at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
10:39AM ( 6 hours ago )
NASCAR Notebook: Truex, Jr. tries to sweep Pocono
Martin Truex, Jr. was the talk of NASCAR following his June win at Pocono Raceway.
By NASCAR Wire Service
8:00AM ( 9 hours ago )
Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner buys share of Ganassi
Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman has agreed to buy an interest in the race team owned by Chip Ganassi.
By The Associated Press
1:32AM ( 15 hours ago )