James, Wade turn on the Heat

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,John Keim
Miami needed them, and they came through. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade did exactly what superstars are supposed to do. They dominated.

And when Indiana needed to respond, it couldn't. The Pacers have a lot of things; what they don't have is a superstar, someone who can take over a game and stop the bleeding or ignite a run.

The question is: Did the series turn? Or was this a last-gasp effort by the Heat? Can you expect Wade and James to put together more games like that -- is that what it will take? Then again, the reason the Heat's supporting players didn't score much, aside from Udonis Haslem late, was simple: They didn't need to. All they needed to do was play defense and get out of the way on offense. That they did. The Heat's defense turned this game around as much as anything in the third, forcing seven turnovers and 33 percent shooting in those 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, James and Wade combined for 70 points, 27 rebounds and 15 assists. They did everything they wanted and more on offense. It will be tough to duplicate that effort every game. And this is what it took to beat a good team, not a great one.

While the focus consistently lands on James, it's Wade who will determine how far the Heat advance. That's not to say he's better than James; he's not. But the Heat clearly fed off his energy, starting in the third quarter.

In the first half, Wade looked like a broken-down player. In the second half, he looked like a rejuvenated one. So, too, did his team.

This series, now tied at 2-2, is a referendum on building teams in a loud way (the Heat) or a subtle one. The Pacers (and Philadelphia for that matter) are unlike other contenders, lacking a top-10 talent. But they have lots of good players and solid depth. But that won't be enough if Wade and James continue to play a certain way. It was impressive. But there's one thing we don't know: how long it will last.

- John Keim

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner