Wade beats buzzer, Heat top Pacers 93-91 in OTBy TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer Sunday, Mar 11, 2012
MIAMI (AP)—LeBron James took over at the end of regulation. Chris Bosh tied the game in overtime. And Dwyane Wade provided the exclamation point, moments before the power was knocked out at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Miami’s “Big Three” was big time.
And the Heat needed every one of their clutch plays.
Wade’s jumper with 0.1 seconds left gave the Heat a 93-91 win against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, a game where James scored his team’s last eight points of regulation to lead a wild comeback and that omnipresent question — “So who takes the big shots for Miami at crunch time?”—had three answers.
“Who’s going to take the last shot? Whoever’s open,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And that’s the point. We have a lot of weapons. We’re at our best when you’re not necessarily sure where that shot is coming from.”
Wade scored 28 points, James added 27 and Bosh had 13 for the Heat, who extended their home-court winning streak to 12 games and remained tied in the loss column with Chicago and Oklahoma City in the race for the NBA’s best record.
Over the final 18:18 of play, Miami led for just 12.2 seconds.
“We should have won the game,” said Danny Granger, who led the Pacers with 19 points. “The game should have never gotten to overtime. We had them beat.”
Almost did, anyway.
Miami trailed by three late in regulation and the Heat had missed 20 of their last 21 3-point attempts over parts of its last three games. Undeterred, James hit one from the corner to tie it, then took over on the defensive end, swarming Darren Collison so much that the Pacers’ guard couldn’t even get a pass off, much less a potential winning shot.
To overtime they went, and it seemed as if Miami’s end-of-regulation effort would be wasted.
Granger’s runner with 2:01 left in the extra session gave Indiana a 91-86 lead. The Pacers—who were blown out in their first two matchups with Miami this season—didn’t score again.
James made another 3-pointer to start Miami’s OT rally, Bosh tied it with a jumper with 1:03 left to play, and an offensive rebound off a missed 3 by James gave Miami the ball and a chance to take the last shot of the extra period.
“Tie game, we’re either going to go another overtime or we’re going to win this game,” Wade said.
He went with Option B.
Udonis Haslem got the rebound of the missed 3, passed to James, who waved his fingers toward Wade. James handed the ball off, spread his arms wide and walked to the corner near the Heat bench, almost making sure he had a great view of what was coming.
Wade dribbled slowly at Paul George, head-faked him into the air, drew contact and then released a shot that dropped with almost no time left. He ran to the other end of the court in celebration, pointing to the floor and saying, “This is my house.”
“That’s his patented move,” James said. “He got the guy up in the air with some contact, but he stayed with the shot. And that was a big-time shot.”
Moments later, the power went off in the arena.
“He shot the lights out,” Bosh said afterward.
David West finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana, which got 14 points from Collison and 12 from George.
“The OT was a wrap-up and summary of what this whole game was,” George said. “We started off the aggressive team and we gave up the lead.”
Miami lost reserve swingman Mike Miller with 5:05 left in the first half. He jumped to contest a pass by Collison, his left leg landing on the back of Bosh’s foot. Miller fell to the court, and when he got up he immediately hopped up the tunnel that leads to the Heat locker room, not stopping at the bench or putting any weight on his left leg.
Miller was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. X-rays showed no break, and he did not return.
This season’s first two Miami-Indiana meetings were over at halftime, with the Heat leading 62-39 in Miami on Jan. 4, then 68-39 in Indianapolis on Feb. 14 when they completed their three-wins-in-three-nights road stretch.
Someone had 39 at halftime again in this one, and it wasn’t Indiana.
The Pacers led by as many as 14 in the first half, taking a 44-39 edge. Miami was 0 for 7 from the floor with four consecutive turnovers during one stretch, scoring only three points in 8 minutes.
Wade was 8 for 11 for 22 points for Miami, the third time he’s scored that many in a first half this season. The rest of the Heat went 7 for 24 in the half, combining for 17 points. James had six at the break, matching his third-lowest-scoring regular-season first half since joining Miami.
All that was long forgotten by the end.
“We have to understand that we’re a good basketball team,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We proved that we could play with these guys. We should have pulled out this game. I feel like we gave the game away. But give credit to Miami. LeBron made superior plays and Dwyane made superior plays when the game was on the line.”
The Heat were without assistant coach Bob McAdoo, the Hall of Fame player who missed the game with deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots that form deep in leg veins. Assistant coach Keith Askins, typically one row behind the Heat bench during games, sat in McAdoo’s usual spot.
NOTES: World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy sat opposite the Heat bench. … Granger missed about 3 minutes of the fourth quarter after banging his right hand while charging into Haslem. … Referee Tre Maddox took a tumble over some courtside photographers in the first quarter, then made a call before getting to his feet.