MIAMI — Two wins down, two to go for the Miami Heat to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth straight year.
That’s because LeBron James and Dwyane Wade played like the team leaders they’re expected to be, propelling Miami to a 99-87 victory against the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night.
James scored 26 points and Wade had 23 as the Heat took a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 will be at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday night.
Ray Allen finished with 16 points in nearly 27 minutes off the bench. He hit all four of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when Miami pulled away.
The Heat sank 10 of 18 from 3-point range overall, 7 of 11 in the second half. Wade was 2 of 3 from long distance after entering the game 2 of 7 from 3-point range previously in the playoffs.
Miami trailed all the way until the third quarter, in which they scored 33 points after scoring 38 the entire first half.
The Heat fell behind 17-4 little more than eight minutes into the game and trailed by as many as 15 points halfway through the second quarter. But Miami fought back to get within 42-38 at halftime.
The two-time defending champions then took control in the third quarter, and secured the win with a strong fourth quarter led by Allen’s shooting.
Paul George, who suffered a concussion late in Miami’s Game 2 win, scored 17 points to lead Indiana.
THE TURNING POINT
Miami shot 73.3 percent (11 of 15) and outscored Indiana 33-22 in the third quarter. The Heat closed the period with a 10-3 run during the final 2:40.
THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
Wade gets a slight edge over James. Wade’s midrange shooting and attacking produced points for himself and for teammates.
STAT OF THE GAME
Heat reserve forward Rashard Lewis missed two shotes and had one block, yet finished with a plus-21 rating, second only to James’ plus-24.
The Heat and Pacers will play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at AmericanAirlines Arena at 8:30 p.m. Monday night.