We’re continuing our look back at classic Miami Heat games. Find the earlier rewinds below:
For our third entry, we go back to May 20, 2012. Going into Game 4 of the Heat’s second-round series against the Indiana Pacers, the Heat were vulnerable. Chris Bosh had gotten injured in Game 1 and would not return for the rest of the series. In a Game 3 rout, Dwyane Wade shot 2-for-13 and even yelled at Erik Spoelstra (Reports later revealed that Wade had his knee drained before Game 3). A second-year player named Lance Stephenson made the choking sign at LeBron James after he missed a free throw in Game 3.
If that weren’t bad enough, Wade missed his first four shots in Game 4. James found Wade on a backdoor cut for a dunk in the closing minute of the first half, but a buzzer-beater from Leandro Barbosa gave the Pacers a 54-46 lead. Suddenly, going down 1-3 looked plausible.
But things changed. Wade and James were on the same wavelength, finding each other in the right spot. Midway through the period, James found Wade for a 3 to give Miami their first lead of the night. At one point, they combined to score 48 of 50 consecutive Heat points.
At the 6:42 mark of the fourth quarter, Spoelstra subbed in Shane Battier for LeBron, hoping to buy the 2012 MVP some rest. The Heat held an 86-81 lead.
Wade found his longtime teammate Udonis Haslem — who had a bandage over his right eye after taking an elbow from Lou Amundson — for three jumpers. The Heat grabbed a 94-85 lead with 3:05 left.
A Danny Granger 3 cut Miami’s lead to 96-91 with 1:35 left. On Miami’s next trip down the floor, LeBron found Haslem for a jumper. Miami held on to win, 101-93.
James finished with 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists. Wade added 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists. To this day, I rank it as the best game LeBron and Wade played together — because of how locked in they were that entire second half and the stakes involved.
The Heat didn’t lose another game that series, blowing out the Pacers in Game 5. And with Haslem suspended for Game 6, Wade scored 41 points in the clincher.