Please see the post above this one for the Friday Buzz Column, with UM, Dolphins, Heat and Marlins chatter.
Postscripts from the Heat’s Game 5 win against Indiana that puts Miami one win away from its third consecutive NBA Finals appearance:
### LeBron James grabbed this game by the neck in the third quarter, outscoring Indiana on his own, 16-13 --- the most points by a Heat player in any quarter this postseason. He shot 7 for 10 in the period, with four rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot.
“I went back to my Cleveland days,” James said. “I said – Let’s try to make more plays, be more of a scoring threat and see if the guys would follow me, and lead the best way I could. And look for my shot. And luckily I was able to make some.”
James produced at least 30 points and 8 rebounds in a playoff game for the 38th time, most in the league since his first playoff appearance in 2004. Second most during that time? Dirk Nowitzki with 20.
### And consider this stat, courtesy of ESPN: In the last 25 seasons, James has 42 playoff games with at least 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Michael Jordan leads the way in that category with 46. Kobe is third with 37.
“He wanted to start off the game with a bang and to end the game with a bang and he expressed that to us,” Norris Cole said.
### James moved past Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor into 13th place on the all-time career postseason scoring list – nine points behind 12th place Scottie Pippen.
### Udonis Haslem had his second exceptional game of the series, hitting 8 of 9 shots, scoring 16 points, and playing stout second-half defense against Roy Hibbert, who had only two field goals after halftime.
“For 10 years I made my living on the baseline,” Haslem said. "I’m getting back to the spot. That’s the way Hibbert is playing defense. My emotions kind of got the best of me tonight. I’m usually a low key guy.”
The Pacers gave begrudging respect to Haslem afterward. “Haslem is a one-tricky pony,” David West said. “We have to resolve to take that away from him. We were a step late getting to him. He was ultimately the difference in the game.”
James had three words: “UD was amazing.”
### Juwan Howard gave an impassioned speech at halftime, with the Heat down four.
“Juwan’s voice is as big as anyone’s,” LeBron said. “That’s why we brought him back – he has an instrumental role. He got on us at halftime – said we were wasting an opportunity.”
LeBron, for his part, also spoke up.
“We were in wait mode in the first half instead of going to get it,” James said. “I tried to let them know – we can’t just win with talent. I have a big voice in our locker room. I sensed what was going with our team in the first half. We had no sense of urgency.”
### And so LeBron stands just one win away from third Finals appearance in a row. He tried to put that in perspective afterward:
"That’s what I came here for – to compete for a championship every year. I made a tough decision. I envisioned something that was bigger as far as a team, sacrificed a lot individually in the summer of 2010 because I wanted to do something special as a team. We have an opportunity for a third straight year to make the Finals. We have to go on the road in a hostile environment and take it.”
### The Game 5 winner of a 2-2 series has won 83.4 percent of NBA playoff series.
### LeBron spoke candidly of his battle with Lance Stephenson, who had a dreadful night (four points, 2 for 7 shooting, three turnovers).
“As a competitor, you love challenges,” James said. “Lance is one of those guys that likes to talk some. I really don’t start it, but if it gets started, I love to do it. It shows a competitive spirit between two individuals.”
### Mario Chalmers again put his fingerprints on this game, with 12 points, six assists and just one turnover.
“I talked to him before the game, talked to him after shootaround, letting him know where he could be aggressive and make plays not only for himself but for his teammates in certain situations,” James said. “Rio has done a great job of using me as a screener to get in the paint and make plays for himself and his teammates.”
### The Heat won despite another quiet night from Dwyane Wade (10 points, 3 for 8 shooting, three turnovers) and Chris Bosh (7 points, 5 rebounds).
“Offense for us, it is not a problem,” Wade said. “We have enough on the offensive end.”
### The Heat changed its approach on Hibbert from the outset, making Haslem and not Bosh the primary defender on Hibbert, and utilizing more double teams on Indiana’s center. Haslem did a good job fronting Hibbert.
Hibbert scored 14 in the first half but here were his numbers after halftime: 8 points on 2 for 5 shooting, just three rebounds and two turnovers. And David West, after halftime, had 7 points on 2 for 6 shooting, and four rebounds.
“They doubled [on me] from time to time when the opportunity presented itself,” Hibbert said. “They made a concerted effort to send two, three bodies to me when I went to the offensive glass. I couldn’t create as many offensive putbacks as I wanted to. It’s a testament to them.”
### Hibbert, who had been averaging 12 rebounds per game in the series, closed with only six to go with his 22 points. And the Pacers, who outrebounded the Heat by 84 – 84! – in their first seven meetings this season, finished with just a 33-32 edge.
### Pacers point guard George Hill, who entered averaging 15.4 points in the series, finished with one point, shooting 0 for 4. The Heat unleashed a 21-6 run after Hill left with his fourth foul with 6:58 left in the third.
“We stalled out offensively, turned the ball over way too much,” West said. “The ball didn’t move the way it’s supposed to move.”
### So what was that third quarter incident about? West yelled at Mario Chalmers and then exchanged words with Haslem after Haslem intervened. All three received technical fouls.
“I got cheap-shotted,” West said. “[Chalmers] gave me a shot in my back.”
Said Haslem: “I was just protecting my point guard.”
James’ take: “We’re not going to let anyone talk down to our point guard. He’s one of the smallest guys on the team.”
### Chris Andersen was 2 for 2, meaning he has made 17 shots in a row, including all 15 in this series. He has only one basket in this series from beyond two feet.