|Date of game: 5/24/2012
Recap: Indiana vs. Miami
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The Miami Heat are headed back to the Eastern Conference Finals after not one, not two, but three straight wins.
Dwyane Wade scored 41 points, LeBron James had 28 and the Heat knocked off the Indiana Pacers, 105-93, in Game 6 of the semifinals Thursday night.
The Heat, after falling behind 2-1 in the series, captured the last three games and will meet either Boston or Philadelphia with a chance to go back to the NBA Finals for the second straight year.
The Celtics and 76ers are tied 3-3 with Game 7 set for Saturday in Boston.
Miami beat Chicago in last year's East finals but lost to Dallas in six games, missing its first chance to win one of the "not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven" titles that James famously predicted after he signed with the team.
"We would have had to play our best to beat them," said Pacers coach Frank Vogel, "and we didn't play our best."
Mike Miller and Mario Chalmers hit back-to-back 3s at the end of the third quarter to give Miami its largest lead until that point, 79-69, going into the fourth.
His foot on the pedal all the way, Wade split two defenders to drive the lane and scored a layup on two more Pacers despite being fouled late in the game.
"He was spectacular, from the beginning to the end," James said.
Wade made the free throw, giving second-seeded Miami a 97-86 lead, but the Pacers scored five quick points in their last push of the series, forcing the Heat to call a time out.
James drove for a layup after the stoppage and the Heat went up by 13 down the stretch.
Wade, who scored 26 of his 41 points in the first half, ended 17-of-25 from the floor and James was 12-for-23. Wade added a team-high 10 rebounds and James led the Heat with seven assists.
"Wade and James going like they were going tonight, they're going to be tough to beat by anybody," said Vogel.
The third-seeded Pacers turned the ball over 22 times, leading to 26 Miami points, and their coach chalked it up to a lack of experience.
"The guys were maybe pressing a little too much. Some of [the turnovers] just came from being a little too excited," said Vogel. "A lot of these guys are new to this level of play ... it's just growing pains. But I couldn't be more proud of my guys."
All five Indiana starters scored in double digits, led by David West with 24 points. George Hill added 18, Danny Granger scored 15, Roy Hibbert had 12 and Paul George contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pacers lost after they were challenged by team president Larry Bird for being "soft" -- "S-O-F-T," the NBA legend told the Indianapolis Star -- even as the series grew increasingly physical between the teams, leading to the suspension of two Miami players.
The Heat were without forward Udonis Haslem and center Dexter Pittman because of bans stemming from Game 5, when Haslem struck Tyler Hansbrough across the face and Pittman landed a flying elbow on Lance Stephenson.
Haslem served his one-game suspension Thursday night, while Pittman will sit another two games for his ban.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he hoped the series wouldn't be remembered by what happened in Game 5.
"It was a competitive, hotly-contested series and that's what it should be remembered for," he said. "There were a lot of ups and downs, but the guys were able to tough it out."
The Heat were already without their best big man, Chris Bosh, so losing Haslem and Pittman left them even weaker inside.
The Pacers scored 22 of their 28 first quarter points in the paint and led by as many as 11.
The Heat climbed within seven going into the second quarter, then built a six- point lead behind Wade. But Granger and Hibbert led a 10-0 run that moved the Pacers back in front and they had a 53-51 lead at halftime.Game Notes
Granger played with a sprained left ankle...Chalmers added 15 points for Miami and Miller scored 12...The Heat shot 53.9 percent and Indiana shot 48.6...The Pacers scored just 24 more points in the paint after the first quarter.