- Associated Press - Sunday, May 25, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Everything was going Indiana’s way. The Miami crowd was silent, the scoreboard showed the Pacers leading by 15 points and the Heat’s frustration was evident.

Such was the case on Dec. 18, when the Heat wound up rallying to win.

And that nightmare scenario struck the Pacers again in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The up-and-down postseason ride for the Pacers took another dip Saturday night, when LeBron James scored 26 points, Dwyane Wade added 23 and the Heat controlled the second half on the way to a 99-87 victory and a 2-1 lead.


“It’s very early in the series,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “They came back. They took care of their home court. We’ve got to come out and try to get Game 4.”

That chance comes on Monday night, back in Miami.

“Every game is a must win,” Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. “We have to leave here after Game 4 hopefully with a win. We just have to play smarter and stronger.”

Finishing would help, too.

According to STATS LLC, the Pacers have lost only three games this season after leading by 15 or more - and all were Florida Flops. Indiana wasted a 17-point lead in a loss at Orlando on Feb. 9, a 15-pointer in Miami a week before Christmas, and now another 15-pointer to put itself in another precarious spot.

“I don’t think we were sharp enough, particularly in this building, to get a win tonight,” Pacers forward David West said.

Miami once trailed 37-22, before outscoring Indiana 77-50 the rest of the way.

“A lot of our situations that we’ve been through where we’ve struggled have been against this team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what they do to you. They’re very good. It’s a function of their defense.

“But we had no choice but try to re-gather.”

That they did.

And then some. Ray Allen added 16 points and led a late-game charge for the Heat.

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