MIAMI – LeBron James scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade added 23 and the Miami Heat shook off a horrid start to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-87 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Former Sonic Ray Allen added 16 points and led a late-game charge for the Heat, which leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.
Game 4 is Monday night in Miami.
The two-time defending champion Heat trailed by 15 points in the first half before outscoring Indiana 77-50 the rest of the way.
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“A lot of our situations that we’ve been through where we’ve struggled have been against this team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what they do to you. They’re very good. It’s a function of their defense.
“But we had no choice but try to regather.”
Paul George scored 17 points for Indiana, shooting 5 for 13 in his return after being concussed late in Game 2.
Roy Hibbert added 16 points for the Pacers.
Miami started the game 2 for 10 from the field. The Heat then made 21 of its next 31 shots, including eight straight in the third quarter that produced its first lead.
James’ dunk with 7:36 remaining in the third put Miami up for the first time, 52-51.
James’ three-pointer with 1:21 left in the third put Miami ahead 67-63, then its biggest lead of the night. Wade subbed in for James with 5.7 seconds left because the four-time league most valuable player was dealing with what appeared to be a hamstring cramp. Wade connected on a three-pointer with 1.4 ticks remaining for a 74-67 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Indiana reduced Miami’s lead to 76-74 before Allen made a three-pointer with 8:21 left.
• Oklahoma City power forward Serge Ibaka’s status for Sunday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs is uncertain. The Spurs lead the West finals 2-0.
Thunder officials said they expected Ibaka to miss the rest of the playoffs when he strained his left calf May 15 against the Los Angeles Clippers, but they changed course Friday and listed him as day to day. Ibaka, who led the league with 219 blocked shots in the regular season, worked out but didn’t practice Saturday.
Ibaka said whether he plays in Game 3 is up to doctors and also how he feels Sunday morning.