INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade followed the same old script Tuesday night.
When Miami got into trouble, the All-Star duo bailed out the Heat. Again.
James scored the first six points in a decisive 12-2 run, and combined with Wade for Miami’s final 20 points in an 87-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers that left the Eastern Conference final tied at a game apiece.
“That’s why they’re the hundred million dollar guys,” teammate Norris Cole said. “They’re unstoppable. They make the game easy for everyone else when they’re in attack mode.”
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That’s exactly how the money guys played during the final 12 minutes.
Wade, who had 13 points in the Heat’s 41-point first half, scored his final 10 in the fourth. James, who finished with 22 points, had 12 in the fourth. Together they helped Miami avoid falling into a 2-0 deficit for the first time since the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
Lance Stephenson tied his playoff career high with 25 points for the Pacers. Paul George scored 14.
The series shifts back to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.
The Pacers were in a strong position midway through the fourth before James and Wade helped Miami seize the home-court advantage
Miami has won 11 straight games following a playoff loss.
“It’s not going to be pretty. Not in the Eastern Conference,” James said. “It’s never pretty basketball in the Eastern Conference. It’s about who can sustain runs. You know, who can get defensive stops? Who can not turn the ball over and who can get great shots? I think we did that in the fourth.”
• Donald Sterling tried to persuade companion V. Stiviano to say the Los Angeles Clippers owner was not responsible for the inflammatory statements about blacks after a now infamous audio recording became public, according to the NBA’s 30-page formal allegation that the league is using to try and get Sterling removed as owner.
The charges, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, said that Sterling’s attempt to alter Stiviano’s statements was part of an effort by Sterling — aided by his wife, Shelly, and Clippers president Andy Roeser — to evade responsibility for the recording that has enveloped the Clippers owner in controversy for nearly a month.
One of the six counts issued Monday accuses the Sterling-led Clippers organization of “destroying evidence relating to the recording, providing false and misleading information to (Chief NBA Investigator David) Anders in connection with the commissioner’s investigation of the recording and issuing a false and misleading public statement on April 26 regarding the authenticity of the TMZ recording.”
It also says there is ample evidence that Sterling and his wife are not estranged, as has been suggested. The charges say the couple is “inextricably intertwined” and cites multiple instances of them appearing together, including at Clippers games and in the two days immediately after the recording became public.
The league has given Sterling until May 27 to respond to the allegations and a voluminous set of declarations that accompany them. A hearing has been set for June 3 in which Sterling will be able to present his case to 29 other NBA owners, who can remove him by a three-fourths vote.
• The Cleveland Cavaliers’ lottery luck just keeps going. The Cavaliers continued their remarkable run Tuesday, winning the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft for the second straight year and third time in the last four. They moved up from the ninth spot, when they had just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the top selection.
• Sacramento’s city council approved by a 7-2 vote a $477 million downtown arena for the Kings, capping off a lengthy struggle to keep the NBA franchise and build it a new home. The majority of the nine-member council has consistently voted to support various aspects of the arena planning process. Much of the credit for keeping the Kings in California’s capital has gone to Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former three-time NBA All-Star who maintains strong connections to the league.