Miami, FL – The unpredictable Miami Heat orchestrated another dominating performance Tuesday to take a 3-2 series lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With star forward Chris Bosh on the mend, the Heat have rebounded the last two games to look like the vaunted title contenders they were constructed to become.
Two days removed from a herculean series-tying performance, the duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade went to work again in Game 5, combining for 58 points in a 115-83 thumping of the Indiana Pacers.
The Pacers will look to slow down a Heat team that made a franchise playoff record 61 percent of its shots Tuesday when the series shifts back to Indianapolis for Game 6 on Thursday.
"They kicked our butts tonight," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "You don't get two games for a blowout. We just have to regroup, come back and get Game 6."
James scored 30 points to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists while Wade added 28 points in the rout. Shane Battier was an unlikely spark with 13 points and also helped limit David West to 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
"A lot of good things tonight, but we have to focus on the next one." Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Danny Granger, Indiana's leading scorer in the regular season, scored 10 points before leaving with an ankle injury early in the third quarter.
West also sprained his ankle in the fourth, but by that time the Heat had already pulled away. Wade and James carried the load during an 11-2 run midway through the third, with James bookending the spurt on a pair of dunks and Wade scoring the seven points between.
James' last slam came off a Wade outlet pass and gave Miami a commanding 65-47 lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the third.
The margin was 76-57 heading to the final stanza, and the only drama in the fourth came in the closing seconds when Miami reserve Dexter Pittman threw a flying elbow into the neck of Lance Stephenson.
Stephenson made headlines when he mimed he was choking after James missed two critical free throws in Indiana's Game 3 win. Stephenson has since apologized for his gesture, but the events seemed to have changed the momentum in the series.
"It's a physical series," Spoelstra said. "No one wants to make it anything more than that."
Battier, who totaled eight points in the first four games of the series, drained three attempts from outside the arc in the first seven minutes of the game, helping the Heat jump out to a 19-8 lead.
Indiana scored 12 of the next 16 points before James buried a three-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer.
An already-chippy series saw two flagrant fouls committed in the early going of the second. Tyler Hansbrough, just minutes after his hard foul on Wade garnered a Flagrant 1, took a two-handed shove from Udonis Haslem in the face while going up for a shot.
As tempers cooled off, James ended the second emphatically, first throwing down a fastbreak dunk off a steal, then working a give-and-go with Wade for a lay-in and a 49-40 advantage at the break.
Miami, which never trailed, owned a 49-35 rebounding edge and scored 20 more points in the paint (46-26)...The Heat had 22 fastbreak points to Indiana's two...Mario Chalmers chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds for Miami...Paul George scored a team-high 11 points for the Pacers, who got eight points and 12 rebounds from Roy Hibbert...Vogel said Granger was day-to-day and will be reevaluated on Wednesday.