Pacers lose 87-83 to Heat in Game 2

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana spent the first 45 minutes moving the Heat to the brink of trouble.

Then the Pacers just threw it away with bad passes and missed shots.

LeBron James and Dwayne Wade took advantage of Indiana’s flurry of empty possessions by scoring Miami’s final 20 points and leading the two-time defending champs past the Pacers 87-83 to even the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.

“That’s everything,” Indiana star Paul George said when asked about the turnovers. “When you play against the Miami Heat and you turn the ball over, they’re going to score. You can’t do that against a team like Miami. That was the turning point.”

It was a tough, gritty game and for much of it, the Pacers appeared to have the upper hand.

But like so many other times, Miami’s money men seized control. James and Wade keyed a 12-2 run that erased the Pacers’ 75-72 lead.

Indiana’s Lance Stephenson tied his playoff career high with 25 points and George finished with 14, not quite enough against James and Wade.

“When they’ve beaten us, it’s been because we haven’t been able to handle their pressure,” David West said. “I thought we did a good job of dealing with it in spots, but particularly late, they cranked it up and trapped us. We can’t panic in those moments.”

James scored the first six points in the key fourth-quarter run, and combined with Wade for Miami’s final 20 points.

Wade, who had 13 points in the Heat’s 41-point first half, scored his final 10 in the fourth. James, who finished with 22 points, had 12 in the fourth. Together they helped Miami avoid falling into a 2-0 deficit for the first time since the first round of the 2010 playoffs.

“That’s why they’re the hundred million dollar guys,” teammate Norris Cole said. “They’re unstoppable. They make the game easy for everyone else when they’re in attack mode.”

Now the series shifts back to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.

This one had a different feel compared to a couple of Miami’s important games in the 2013 postseason.

A year ago in Game 7 at Miami, the Heat’s money players overwhelmed Indiana 99-76. Then, after losing Game 1 in the finals to San Antonio, James, Wade and Chris Bosh helped Miami storm back for a 19-point win.

On Tuesday, the Pacers were in a strong position midway through the fourth before James and Wade helped Miami seize the home-court advantage Indiana so desperately wanted for this series.

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