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Postscripts, reaction to Heat's Game 3 win

Postscripts, reaction in the wake of the Heat's 99-87 Game 3 win over Indiana, which gives Miami a 2-1 lead in this Eastern Conference Finals:

### Even at 38, Ray Allen is still capable of moments like this --- 13-point fourth quarter, including 4 for 4 from beyond the arc. The Pacers had power forward David West defending him in the fourth.

“Whenever I see a big on me, I salivate,” Allen said.

But West said he’s fine with that defensive assignment, which he has handled in games the past two years when the Heat uses a small lineup.

“That’s not a problem for me,” West said of defending Allen. “He got free one time. It was a breakdown on my part.”

LeBron James said Allen "creates so much for our team --- he shifts the defense by himself. It's great that we have that. He's one of the few on the team that can create two on the ball. He's always in constant motion. I was able to find him for the majority of the shots he got in the fourth quarter."

### Dwyane Wade, who entered shooting 26 for 38 in this series, was again highly efficient, shooting 9 for 16 on a 23-point night. Wade has now scored 28, 27, 23 and 23 in his past four games.

Wade hit two threes, equal to his total of the entire postseason before tonight.

### LeBron scored 16 of his 26 in the second half, with six turnovers but also seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. James went to the locker-room briefly in the third quarter with cramping, the result of dehydration.

"We hate the way we played to start the game," James said of falling behind 17-4 early. "We can't play that type of basketball. We have to play like we're down 15 to start the game or it will bite us in the butt."

### Lance Stephenson (10 points, 3 for 9 shooting, 11 rebounds) downplayed his trash-talking with LeBron.  “Nothing personal between us,” Stephenson said. “There are no friends on the court. We’re just playing hard basketball.”

Asked if he tries to respond every time LeBron scores, Stephenson said: “I’m not trying to go back and forth with him.”

### Several Pacers bemoaned their 19 turnovers, which led to 26 Heat points. David West had five, George Hill four.

“They pressured us and we collapsed,” Stephenson said.

### The Heat closed at 54.4 percent from the floor, scored 33 and 28 points in the last two quarters and hit 10 of 18 three-pointers.

“Their guys were getting the shots they wanted every time down the floor,” West said. “We have no ball pressure. They got us on our heels. They’re not doing anything special. They’re just moving the ball, we’re allowing them to do it and they’re teeing off on us right now.”

### The conventional thinking before the season was that Greg Oden would be the Heat’s best way to counter the Pacers’ frontcourt size advantage.

The conventional thinking (and Erik Spoelstra’s) after the first quarter of Game 1 of these Eastern Conference Finals was that starting Udonis Haslem alongside Chris Bosh would be the best way to open games against the Pacers’ combo of Roy Hibbert and David West.

Turns out, neither has turned out as Miami envisioned.

But nobody could have predicted this: The Heat did some of its best work in Game 3 when using a power forward, Rashard Lewis, who didn’t even play in the first two games.

And Hibbert and West, after strong starts, combined for just four points in the fourth.

With Haslem and Bosh on the court together, the Heat was outscored by nine points in nine minutes on Saturday and by an obscene 37 points in 34 minutes in this series.

But with Lewis on the floor, the Heat outscored the Pacers by 21 points in 17 minutes on Saturday, including a terrific close to the third quarter, when Lewis played alongside Chris Andersen, who had a team-high seven rebounds in 23 minutes. The Pacers shot 30.4 percent when Lewis was on the court.

LeBron and Wade praised Spoelstra for inserting Lewis. "If you look at the stats, it doesn't look like he did much. But he did a great job defending David West and on pick-and-rolls," Wade said.

Lewis’ numbers (no points, rebounds or assists and 0 for 2 shooting) don’t tell the story of his contributions. He blocked a shot and capably defended West, who made his first three shots but then went 27 minutes of game time before his next basket. And ball movement was crisp with Lewis in the game.

### West closed 5 of 8 from the field, with 13 points, five turnovers and five rebounds.

### The Pacers were outscored by 21 with West in the game and by 21 with Hibbert in the game.

### With 1:10 left in the first quarter, Hibbert had as many points as the Heat (10). But Hibbert scored just six points the rest of the game, had just two rebounds overall and took only two shots in the fourth quarter.

“I got my chances,” Hibbert said. “I got to do a better job finishing. I got to be more effective.” In the fourth quarter, “we just couldn’t get into a rhythm and couldn’t score. We weren’t defending at a high level.”

### Pacers backup power forward Luis Scola gave Indiana a big lift with eight first half points. But he missed his only shot of the second half.

### Spoelstra insisted before the game that the Heat never signed Oden “to be a Roy Hibbert stopper.” And he didn’t play Saturday, despite being active for the first time in this series.

### The Heat got more strong work from Norris Cole, who had nine points (4 for 6 shooting), two assists and more stout defense on Stephenson.  "Norris is great for our team," James said. "He changes our tempo. That's what you need coming off the bench, energy guys. He makes his mark defensively. He attacks the rim."       

### More struggles for Bosh, who had 9 points, missed 8 of 12 shots and was limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble. He is averaging 7.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and shooting 29.9 percent in his past seven playoff games against Indiana.

Comments

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Georgia Cane

Lebron best player in the planet, but I know why I wear a #3 jersey.

rboud

The Heat really need to win Game 4 or the pressure will really mount again. I don't want to see the Heat have to win in Indy again. That will be very tough.

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