MIAMI -- Forward LeBron James, playing on a gimpy left ankle, was still able to help give the Miami Heat a 97-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in a battle between the Eastern Conference's top two teams at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Heat guard Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 32 points, and James added 24.
In the final 90 seconds, Miami forward Chris Bosh hit a 3-pointer that tied the score at 92, and guard Ray Allen followed on the next possession with a 3-pointer that put Miami up 95-92 with 59 seconds left.
After Indiana cut it to 95-94 on two foul shots by forward David West, James came up with a steal with 10 seconds left to seal the win.
Forward Paul George led Indiana (20-5) with 25 points, and West added 23.
Shortly before game time, it was 50-50 whether James would play because of the lingering ankle injury that he aggravated Monday night against Utah. James missed practice Tuesday and said he would not have played if the game had been that night.
The Heat (19-6) has won five of its past six games and on Wednesday avenged the only blemish during that span -- last week's loss at Indiana. The Heat trails the Pacers by one game in the battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
In the meantime, after an 18-2 start, Indiana (20-5) is just 2-3 in its past five games.
James was not the only one functioning at less than 100 percent Wednesday. Pacers coach Frank Vogel was courtside despite suffering from food poisoning.
The Pacers led 26-22 after a first period that saw James, Bosh and Pacers center Roy Hibbert head to the bench with two fouls each.
James did have two breakaway dunks in the first six minutes, but the Heat needed a buzzer-beating bank shot in the lane by Allen to reach 22 points.
Things got chippy with 6:52 left in the second quarter, when Pacers guard Lance Stephenson and Heat counterpart Mario Chalmers were hit with technical fouls.
James was charged with his third foul with 4:26 left in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half. The Pacers went on a 14-4 run to close the half leading 52-41.
Wade led all scorers at the half with 14, James added 12 points in just 14 minutes and Stephenson had 11.
Hibbert picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter and went to the bench with 8:34 left. Still, the Pacers played well without him, stretching their lead to 15 points before the Heat rallied to close the quarter trailing 76-71.
NOTES: After averaging 25.1 points in the first month of the season, Pacers F Paul George entered Wednesday with a 14.7 average over his past three games. His scoring slump was accompanied by more turnovers (up from 2.6 to 3.7) and a lower shooting percentage (down from .478 to .270). ... Pacers F Danny Granger, who played just five games last season due to a knee injury and has yet to appear this season due to a calf problem, is expected to return Friday at home against the Houston Rockets. He is making $14 million in 2013-14, and he will be a free agent after the season. ... Heat F Michael Beasley (hamstring) missed his sixth consecutive game. ... The next time the teams meet will be March 26 in Indiana. They also play April 11 at Miami. ... The Heat plays the fourth game of a five-game homestand Friday against the Sacramento Kings.