The Miami Heat dropped Game 2 of their second round series against the Indiana Pacers, 78-75, on Tuesday night. Playing without Chris Bosh for the first time, the Heat leaned heavily on their two superstars to carry them on the offensive end. But a huge third quarter from the Pacers was the difference, as they built a double-digit lead and then held on in an ugly offensive game down the stretch.
MId way through the fourth, when the Heat were still fighting uphill to get back in it, Dwyane Wade went up for a breakaway layup and was met in mid-air by Dahntay Jones. He went flying but a foul was not whistled by referee Bennie Adams. Wade was clearly frustrated and he took that out on Pacer point guard Darren Collison and barreled right through him from behind on a fast break. He was whistled for a flagrant one foul. Things got chippy just a few possessions later, when LeBron James and Danny Granger went nose to nose after getting tangled up under the hoop.
James played the entire second half, leading Miami slowly back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The Heat finally regained the lead with about four minutes remaining, after Wade hit a pretty shot off the square for a 72-71 lead. Wade struggled throughout the night but hit some huge shots down the stretch to get Miami back in it. At one point, he hit five in a row as the offense, as expected, was dominated by the Heat's two superstars. James finished with 28 points while Wade added 24. Everyone else had only 23 combined.
It was a tale of missed free throws down the stretch, as both teams combined for five straight clanks from the charity stripe. Paul George made a great block on James but promptly missed two from the line at the other end. James returned the favor by missing two himself. Roy Hibbert hit the second of two at the line to finally extend the Pacers lead to two at 77-75.
The Heat had a chance to tie it down two but a Wade missed a tough running layup as he stumbled through the lane. After George Hill split a pair of free throws, the Heat had another chance to tie but a Mario Chalmers three pointer went off the side of the rim.
With the series now tied at 1-1, the Heat will look to reclaim home-court advantage on Thursday night in Indianapolis.
For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier and andSB Nation Tampa Bay. For the opponent's perspective throughout the series, check out Indy Cornrows and SB Nation Indiana. And for all your news and notes on the playoffs matchups, visit SB Nation's dedicated NBA hub.