MIAMI’S SEASON, THE one that’s supposed to end in an NBA championship and vindication, was slipping away.
LeBron James brought it back. And this time, Dwyane Wade helped him.
James scored 40 points, Wade added 30 — 22 in the second half — and Miami’s dynamic duo took over after halftime to get the Heat even in the series with a 101-93 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals yesterday.
With Chris Bosh injured and back in Florida, the James-Wade tandem saved the Heat, who will host Game 5 on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“Just survival,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This is what the playoffs are about.”
James was at his MVP best, adding 18 rebounds and nine assists and refusing to let Miami’s season slip away.
“It’s still going to be a dogfight,” James said. “It’s a three-game series now.”
Wade rebounded from the worst playoff game of his career, shaking off a 1 of 8 shooting start and adding nine rebounds and six assists.
Danny Granger scored 20 to lead the Pacers, who had the Heat down but couldn’t put the defending conference champions away.
Down by 10 points in the third quarter, the Heat were in danger of having their championship dreams obliterated by an Indiana team outworking them at both ends and backed by a towel-waving fans.
James would have none of it.
Wade, who scored five points in Game 3 and yelled at coach Erik Spoelstra on the sideline during a third-quarter timeout in Miami’s 19-point loss, came alive in the third when he made all six shots and scored 14 points.
“I’ve been doubted before. I’ll be doubted again,” Wade said.
James added 14 as well in the period as the pair landed a 1-2 punch on the Pacers’ chin. ”We had a terrible performance in Game 3,” James said. “We wanted to redeem ourselves.”