James leads Wade-Less Heat to win over Pacers
Even without Dwyane Wade, LeBron James managed to carry the extra load with the Miami Heat, crushing the Indiana Pacers with a 118-83 victory.
The Heat was still stinging from the team’s first loss of the season, to the Atlanta Hawks two days before, and Wade sitting out with an enduring foot injury may not have been their idea of a great comeback.
But James managed to make plenty of different contributions, said Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Heat.
James had a total of 13 assists, 33 points, and 8 rebounds, which Coach Spoelstra confirmed got the team out in the open court as early as the first half. Even with a scary tumble with a sprained left ankle towards the end of the third quarter, he still got back in good form, playing another seven minutes right after the injury, largely because trainers believed that if he stopped, the ankle would start to swell.
After the game, though, he expressed uncertainty about whether he could still play Thursday night in Atlanta.
“We’ll see how I feel in the morning,” he said, expressing that the concern was always about the next day of the sprain. Although he had played a few times with a sprained ankle, he wound up missing the next game or two. For example, in Los Angeles last season, he played through a sprain, but could not play anymore the next night when the ankle developed a swelling during the flight to Denver.
In the game against the Pacers, by the second quarter, James Jones had sparked a run that allowed the Heat to bury Indiana at 33-12: a series of three three-pointers came in quick succession, ending with 14 points in Wade’s place.
Another 22 points came by Chris Bosh, showing the audience that the Heat was serious about keeping their lead, not in the least intimidated by the visiting Pacers.
The players apparently just wanted to focus on playing the game without slowing down in Wade’s absence, related Bosh.
“We wanted to do a better job defensively,” he said, explaining that they had to stick to their principles and learn to hold one another accountable.
Late in the third quarter, the Pacers inched up to 77-65, but the Heat quickly closed the quarter with a run of 11-1 and outscored Indiana 30-17 in the fourth quarter, making up the last margin.
The Pacers (4-2) had Roy Hibbert leading the way at 16 points with 12 rebounds, albeit at only 34 percent shooting, but the team still succumbed to their second defeat in three games.
Danny Granger who was actually the Pacers’ lead scorer last season, seemed to continue in his shooting slump, making only 2 out of 13 shots, at 36 percent shooting for this season.
Coming out from the victory, the Heat has yet to leave both Wade and James on the questionable list for the rematch game against the Hawks this Thursday—the same team to which the Heat lost only on Monday.
James expressed that he would not let Wade’s situation affect his own decision for Thursday’s game.