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U.D. IS BACK: Heat Get Boost from Udonis Haslem in Fourth, Leads to Win over Pacers in Game 4

HaslemBY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

INDIANAPOLIS – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Heat for much of Sunday's win against the Pacers, so much so, Indiana's radio voice didn't notice anyone else on the court.

“They have two guys,'' Mark Boyle said during the third quarter, “and that's it.''

Udonis Haslem would later show the Heat had more than just the LeBron and D-Wade show. At least when it mattered most. 

“Every shot he made was big,'' James said of Haslem. “Without him, we don't win this game.''

Haslem, held to a total of just six points in the first three games of the series, scored eight points in the fourth quarter to help the Heat hold off the host Pacers 101-93 and tie up the series at two games each.

The Miami High and UF grad scored 14 points in the Haslemufgame after getting 25 in his first eight games of this postseason. 

“Every shot he made was big,'' James said of Haslem. “Without him, we don't win this game.''

Haslem did the bulk of the scoring for the much-maligned Miami bench, getting 14 of their 20 points.

As Wade and James dominated the third by scoring, the Heat's other three players on the court played strong defensively as Indiana shot 33 percent from the floor and had seven turnovers. 

“We don't worry about what the media says about us, but we're a team, and we're all doing things to help this team succeed,'' center Ronny Turiaf said.

“If it's a block, a charge, it's not just about scoring. It's the little stuff that helps us be successful. A team has layers of different personalities and different pieces coming together. We do the dirty work and [James and Wade] take care of the rest.'' 

Added point guard Mario Chalmers: “We have two of the best players in the game and if they get going, you roll with them. Everyone was doing their thing on defense and shut them down. We won the third and that was huge for us.''

Coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game that he expected a big effort out of Haslem what with the importance of Sunday's game. With a loss, the Heat would be heading home down 3-1 in the series. Instead, things are tied and the Heat have home court advantage back. 

Spoelstra and Haslem have been in must-win situations together many times. Haslem and Wade are Udwadethe only two players left from Miami's 2006 run to the title; Spoelstra was an assistant on that championship team.

“Being around UD for nine years, I know his type of toughness and competitiveness transcends things,'' Spoelstra said. “On a day like [Sunday], I expect he's going to have an impact on this game.''

Haslem sure didn't disappoint. Aside from the help he gave Miami on offense, he was strong defensively as well. “We know what UD is capable of doing,'' Turiaf said. “It's all about teamwork and he took the challenge.''

In the fourth, Haslem took an offensive foul from Indiana's Lou Amundson with 9:37 left in the game. With blood streaming from a cut above his right eye,

Haslem was told he needed stitches. With so little time left in the game, Haslem wasn't having any of it.

“I didn't know I was bleeding at first,'' said Haslem, who took nine stitches afterward and had a large bandage covering his eyebrow. “They told me I needed stitches and there were nine minutes left. There was no way I could get stitches and come back and play. Wasn't happening. I told them to just stop the bleeding.''

Haslem finished the game with a large patch above his eye.

“It may have made me focus better,'' he said with a smile.




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