How badly did the Miami Heat want to beat the Indiana Pacers in Round 2 of the Battle of the Eastern Conference’s Only Two Powerhouses? Badly enough that LeBron James played on a gimpy ankle. Badly enough that, in the third quarter, James exploded at his teammate Mario Chalmers. Badly enough that the Heat rallied from a 15-point deficit for a 97-94 victory, after losing to the Pacers last week in Indiana.
This time, Dwyane Wade scored 32 points and James 24 as Chris Bosh and Ray Allen hit clutch three-pointers in crunch time. “It was a good win,” James said. “Good, good, quality win against a very good team on our home floor. We had to overcome a lot.”
Including that dustup that Coach Erik Spoelstra downplayed as an “explosive conversation.” It came after Chalmers, a whipping post for the Heat’s Big Three, had turned over the ball, missed a three-pointer and committed two fouls in a two-minute span. The second foul came on a Paul George three-point attempt. Not longer afterward, Spoelstra took Chalmers out of the game for good.
“Lot of emotion in this game,” Spoelstra said (via the Miami Herald). “That’s been our nature. I’d prefer to see that nature more often. It sparked more communication with everyone. More life. … “We’d like to play every game like this.”