James scores 32 as Heat closes in on conference title
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Chris Bosh added 25 points and the Miami Heat moved one win away from a return trip to the NBA Finals with a 102-90 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade scored 15 points for the Heat, who have won three of the first four games in the Eastern Conference finals. They can win the East for a fourth straight season with a win at Indiana on Wednesday night.
Miami led wire-to-wire, opening up as much as a 23-point lead in the final quarter.
Paul George scored 23 points and David West added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 15 points from George Hill. But Lance Stephenson was held to nine and Roy Hibbert was scoreless in 22 minutes for Indiana.
The Pacers won two elimination games in the first round against Atlanta, and need to win three more if their yearlong plan of topping Miami as kings of the East is going to become reality.
The odds are obviously stacked against them. When holding a 3-1 lead, Miami is 8-0 in Game 5s over the past four postseasons.
Miami outscored Indiana 31-20 in the third quarter and increased the lead to 23 in the fourth before the Pacers used a 15-3 run to make things rather interesting. Stephenson had a layup with 3:20 left that would have gotten Indiana within nine — but it was waved off after he was called for fouling Wade on his way to the basket.
Stephenson scored with 1:31 left to make it 99-90, but James snuffed out any comeback hopes right there. His three-point play nine seconds later pushed the lead back to 12, and the Heat were moments away from a 3-1 lead.