Juwan Howard set the tone early. Miami was going to be aggressive, a message sent after Howard needed to be separated from Lance Stephenson in pregame shootaround. The Heat took offense after Stephenson’s choke sign in Game 3 and their own awful play. It just took a quarter and a half for the message to sink in for anyone not named LeBron. Even early, when tea leaf readers were looking for any sense of Miami’s psyche down 11-0, a dunk by King James (40 points, 18 boards, nine assists) through the lane seemed to show he wasn’t going to be blamed for not taking the game by the throat. After that, Miami’s “let’s throw the ball anywhere but to my teammate” act got tired. Apparently five turnovers in four minutes is enough. But for LeBron, it just continued with 19 in the first 24 minutes — and that’s when he picked up a sidekick. Dwyane Wade (30 points), whose jumper was put on a milk carton after Game 3 (2-of-13) and then a start of 3-of-10 Sunday, regained his form. We’re not sure if it was an off-day visit to his college coach, Tom Crean, or a killer’s glare (or just a terrified-for-my-legacy look) in LeBron’s eyes that started it, but the pair went off for 38 straight Miami points. Twenty-eight of Miami’s 30 in the third quarter, too. … Udonis Haslem had some kind of superhero thing going on in the fourth after getting cut above the right eye. When he sat out a possession and they stanched the bleeding, he came in to drop a couple silky 15-foot, and 16-foot jumpers to keep Miami a comfortable two possessions ahead. He was enormous with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and showed the toughness Roy Hibbert (10 points, nine boards) should have. Indiana’s big man sputtered worse than an inexperienced stick-shift driver after foul trouble. Those pin-and-hook jumpers from 10 feet or less weren’t falling like they had been in Indianapolis and took away the one definite matchup advantage the Pacers have. … At one point the announcer said the Pacers hadn’t played in a Sunday afternoon TV slot since 2005. That goes a little toward explaining how frail Indiana looked up 10 in the third, a vise grip of a 3-1 lead nearing their hand. Danny Granger (20 points) again got in a Heat player’s face, this time Wade, in a show of “I know what I’m doing!” It looked like the same front he put up on LeBron in Game 3, except this time that chair had no leg to stand on with LBJ and Wade going berserk, with the latter dropping 11 straight buckets. … Leandro Barbosa dove for a loose ball in front of the Pacers’ bench with under seven minutes left in the fourth and didn’t get the possession but kicked Dahntay Jones in the face to boot (no pun intended). Talk about a lose-lose situation. Making it funnier was the whole reason Jones stood up was to avoid getting hit in the first place. Also seen in that stretch: Indiana assistant Brian Shaw‘s baby-blue suit that looked like it came from the Craig Sager collection. … Hit the jump to hear how CP3′s late magic ran out.
Smack / May 21, 2012 / 1:28 am
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