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LeBron was on fire last night as Miami Heat won the Eastern Conference

The reigning champions advanced to the NBA finals where they meet the San Antonio Spurs.

James and his Miami Heat team-mates.
James and his Miami Heat team-mates.
Image: Lynne Sladky/AP/Press Association Images

THE MIAMI HEAT have staked an early claim for back-to-back championships, thrashing the Indiana Pacers to advance to the NBA finals.

The reigning NBA champions thrashed the Pacers 99-76 in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference finals to claim a berth in the seven-game championship-deciding series.

Miami scored 33 points to 16 in the second quarter to break Indiana and continued to build on their lead in the final two terms to win by 23, with LeBron James (32 points) leading the way for the Heat.

The Pacers finished the opening quarter strongly on Monday, scoring seven of the last 11 points to lead 21-19 at the first break but the visitors were blown apart by Miami in the second term.

James scored 12 points in the second quarter, while Ray Allen sank a trio of three-pointers to add 10 for Miami (his only points of the game) as the home side built a 15-point margin at half-time.

The Heat out-scored Indiana 24-18 and 23-21 in the final two quarters to wrap up the Eastern Conference title, meaning Miami will have until Thursday to prepare for Game One of the NBA finals versus the San Antonio Spurs.

Dwyane Wade was another key player for Miami with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Indiana centre Roy Hibbert top-scored for the Pacers with 18, ably assisted by David West (14 points) and George Hill (13).

YouTube credit: NBA

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