Postscripts from the Heat's 87-83 Game 2 win over the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which leaves this Eastern Conference Finals tied at one game apiece.
### This is why you don’t seriously doubt this team trailing 1-0 in a series to a flawed opponent, if at all, for that matter. 2-0 down? Then you can worry. 1-0? Not so much.
We’ve now witnessed a Heat win in Game 2 on all five occasions when Miami lost the opener of a series in the Big Three era.
What’s more, the Heat has now won 11 straight playoff games after a loss.
And there’s this: No team in NBA history has won five consecutive series in which it lost the first game. The Heat is trying to become the first.
### LeBron James, passive at times offensively early, scored 12 of his 22 in the fourth, made several key passes when double-teamed that resulted in second-half threes (by Norris Cole and Chris Bosh) and shook off a few early defensive missteps to make an impact on that end of the floor in the second half.
"I needed to do something in the fourth," he said. "I did a great job of attacking in the third quarter and getting my guys open threes. But I needed to make a few buckets to help my guys in the fourth quarter and I was able to come through."
LeBron was able to conserve some energy in the fourth by primarily defending George Hill late instead of Paul George or Lance Stephenson, both of whom he defended earlier.
“He wasn’t in a rhythm and was able to break free with a couple of cuts and in transition,” Spoelstra said.
### Wade didn’t score for the final 8:34 of the second quarter or the first 16 minutes of the second half but scored 10 in the fourth (5 for 5 shooting) to close with 23, with five rebounds and five assists.
Wade, who finished 10 for 16 from the field, has now scored 28, 27 and 23 in his past three games, his highest three-game total since December.
His mid-range game remains exemplary, as it has been all season when healthy. “I’ve got to slow him down,” Stephenson said.
### James and Wade, on their own, outscored Indiana, 22-20, in the fourth. Down 75-72, Miami closed the game on a 15-8 run over the final 5:33, with the Heat shooting 6 for 8 and Indiana 3 for 9 over that stretch.
"This is what we envisioned --- two guys who can be dynamic," Wade said of himself and James.
### The contributions of Cole and Chris Andersen cannot be underestimated, and Erik Spoelstra wisely rode them down the stretch.
Cole had 11 points, made both his threes, had two assists and no turnovers in 27 minutes and played stout defense in the fourth on Stephenson, who scored only two of his 25 in the final quarter. Cole said LeBron told him to defend Stephenson, which LeBron confirmed.
"Norris loves to play defense and did a great job on Lance, which allowed me to switch to Paul George and LeBron on the point guard," Wade said.
Stephenson, exceptional the first three quarters, had six rebounds and seven assists but also five turnovers. “Last five minutes, we didn’t make no plays,” he said. “Last three minutes, LeBron stepped up and made big plays.”
Spoelstra said he had Cole defend Stephenson late because Stephenson was “killing us with dribble penetration. Norris is one of our better pick-and-roll defenders. We were going to test it out a few possessions [with Cole on Stephenson] and just rolled with it.”
The Heat was plus 14 when Cole was on the floor and outscored by 14 with Mario Chalmers on the court.
### Meanwhile, Andersen had 12 boards (and three points) in 29 minutes, had an excellent defensive play on Roy Hibbert late and was active defensively throughout.
This was telling: Miami outscored the Pacers by 25 points when Andersen was on the floor. Conversely, the Heat was outscored by 20 in Udonis Haslem’s 19 minutes.
Andersen, by the way, had as many rebounds in the fourth quarter (six) as the entire Pacers team. And Indiana shot 12 for 41 with Andersen on the court tonight.
### The Heat finished at 50.7 percent from the field, just above its regular season average, while Indiana shot 40 percent, including 4 for 16 from Paul George and 5 for 16 from David West.
“There was a better commitment to that end,” Spoelstra said.
"We got back to Heat defense," James said. "We played the type of basketball we wanted to play. Even when we made mistakes, we flew around."
### The Pacers, who shot 37 free throws in Game 1, had only 15 in Game 2, making 10. The Heat was 11 for 18.
### Bosh had typically modest numbers against Indiana (9 points, 6 rebounds) and hit the side of the backboard on one three-pointer. But he had a blocked shot and covered a lot of ground defensively.
### Big picture stuff from Wade: "We always give credit to our first year together, where we did panic in situations like this. That year brought a lot of growth to our team and our leadership, particularly [LeBron]. We believe in our defense. Offensively, we've got two guys you can put the ball in their hands and they will make the right play for their team. That's why we don't break a sweat [when down early in a series].... Today was about how much we wanted it."
### From the Pacers side: Paul George said he blacked out briefly and was dazed for the final five minutes after Wade’s knee collided with his head. That was news to Pacers coach Frank Vogel, who said he was told George was fine…. Vogel: “They’re a great team. They’re the champs. That’s what we expect [from Wade and James]. We’re not demoralized. Just have to respond. We had some defensive breakdowns that led to threes and some turnovers.”
### Indiana’s bench was supposed to be better than a year ago, with Luis Scola and CJ Watson replacing Tyler Hansbrough and DJ Augustin, and Evan Turner added in February. But Turner, who was active after missing Game 1 with strep throat, didn’t play.
Scola (1 for 6) couldn’t hit his jumper and was a liability. Watson was 0 for 4 and a minus 13 in 13 minutes. Indiana’s bench shot 3 for 13, with two of those baskets by Rasual Butler.
### Greg Oden was again inactive…. The reason for the long wait before the next game (until Saturday) is because the NBA wants to make up for moving up the start of the series to this past Sunday and doesn’t want the series to end too early because the NBA Finals start-date (set for June 5) won’t move up under any circumstances.
Please check back Wednesday for the Wednesday buzz column, with lots of football talk.