I want to get something out of the way before we address Miami's conference finals clinching victory vs. Indiana.
People are hoping for a Wade game. Its not happening. He's hurt y'all.— Jay Ramos (@JayRamNBA) June 4, 2013
I wrote that tweet before the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 99-76 to advance to their third consecutive NBA Finals. Miami cannot win a championship without Dwyane Wade at least playing at an All-Star level, even if his bothersome right knee limits his usual superstar exploits. And given that he hadn't scored over 20 points in 12 games and his efficiency has been down all postseason, it's a little late in the game to expect Wade to just snap into rhythm and get healthy all of a sudden.
But Dwyane did it. Not snap into superstar shape, but play well enough to boost Miami at the most important moment of the season. Wade finished with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting (7-of-7 free throws) to go with nine rebounds (six offensive) to tag along with LeBron James, who scored 32 points.
James made 15-of-16 free throws and grabbed eight rebounds to again pace the Heat statistically.
Miami's constricting defense was active for most of the game, doubling down in the post and forcing Indiana's ball-handlers far out when initiating the offense.
Surprisingly enough, Miami snatched 43 rebounds to Indiana's 36, and was able to force 21 Pacer turnovers. The Heat turned the ball over just 11 times in the contest. Despite shooting under 40 percent from the field in the game, the Heat comfortably won because they controlled those margins.
Chris Bosh continued to struggle rom the field (3-of-13), but was active defensively and grabbed eight rebounds. Bosh was over-aggressive early in the game, but it was probably worth it for Miami to give him a chance to get in rhythm and be more than a standstill shooter.
Ry Allen added 10 points for the Heat. Roy Hibbert led the Pacers with 18 points. The Pacers got just 14 points combined from the bench.