The stage has been set and the Miami Heat will return to the NBA Finals. With the Pacers forcing a Game 7, Miami had their backs up against the wall but responded as defending champions should.
LeBron James led all scorers with 32 points along with eight rebounds and four assists. Dwayne Wade added 21 points and nine rebounds. His 21 points matched his postseason high and helped lead the Heat to a 99-76 blowout victory.
“By any means necessary, we took care of business,” James said. Miami led by as many as 28 points, despite shooting just under 40 percent.
This win puts the Heat in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. “You never want to take anything for granted,” Wade said. “Being here three straight years in a row, going back to the finals, is an amazing feat. I’m just glad we were able to do it.”
The Heat will have to shift their focus to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games to win the Western Conference Finals. They will have had nine days to rest between series. The finals begin Thursday in Miami. Game 2 will also be in Miami on Sunday followed by three games in San Antonio.
Miami went 2-0 against the Spurs this season. Neither games should foreshadow what’s ahead because during their first meeting, the Spurs rested four regulars. The Heat had three injured starters in the second meeting.