By Adi Joseph, USA TODAY
When LeBron James is running deep routes and Dwyane Wade‘s throwing full-court chest passes, the rout is on.
The Miami Heat ran amok on the Indiana Pacers in a 115-83 win Tuesday involving egregious fouls and amazing passes and a hobbled star. That made three Game 5 blowouts in two days for the NBA playoffs, a trend started by the Boston Celtics in a 101-85 win Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Oklahoma City Thunder closed out the Los Angeles Lakers with a 106-90 victory later that night.
The Celtics and Heat looked unbeatable in the second halves of their wins as they took 3-2 series leads. Boston trailed by three at the half, then racheted up the intensity on defense as the 76ers shot 37.1% from the field in the final two quarters. Miami’s second-half effort was even more dominant: The Heat shot 70.6% and held the Pacers to 29.8% from the field in a 66-43 half even with the game in hand for the entire fourth quarter.
The Celtics and Heat are road-bound, though. Boston is 29-10 (5-1 in the playoffs) at home but 17-21 (2-3) on the road this season. Miami’s 33-6 (5-1) at home but 20-17 (2-2) on the road.
Could homecourt spark the 76ers and Pacers? Neither team is as dominant at home as its opponent. Philadelphia (23-15 at home, 4-1 in the playoffs) can find hope in the fact that, since adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics are 10-12 in close-out games, where they had the chance to eliminate an opponent, according to ESPN Boston.
The Pacers (26-12 at home, 3-2 in the playoffs) will need to turn to their own resilience. Indiana was 8-4 this season coming off double-digit losses. But all that may be for naught if Danny Granger, Indiana’s top scorer and emotional leader, can’t play in Thursday’s Game 6 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Being the home team always helps. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s NBA winners and losers:
Erik Spoelstra: The Heat coach completely dismantled adversary Frank Vogel, who was regarded as the better game manager entering the series. he switched his approach on pick-and-rolls, speeding things up and having his big men play more aggressively. there were choppy moments in the early going, including one play in which Ronny Turiaf appeared completely unaware James had passed to him, but it mostly worked. He’s also found a starting lineup that he likes after switching it up several times because of Chris Bosh’s injury.
James and Wade: They’re regulars on this list, sure, but have they had a more efficient postseason game together? they shot 22-for-36, totaling 58 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. and they were perfectly in sync with each other and teammates. Wade’s acrobatics on a few and-one chances were particularly impressive, even if his 7-for-13 performance from the line left a lot to be desired.
Shane Battier: he made three-pointers to start each half and finished with four threes and 13 points. Battier, starting at power forward, had been pretty terrible throughout the playoffs, averaging 4.2 points a game and shooting 24.4% from the field and 26.5% on threes. But he was a star in his move to power forward for this game, locking down David West and finding himself open to hit key shots while the game was still close.
Roy Hibbert’s height: The Pacers can take solace in one fact: their 7-2 center remains the tallest player in the series, and he finished with 12 rebounds. he also hit a three-pointer for the first time in two years. being tall had to help. Maybe.
Ronny Turiaf’s celebrations: We’re so happy he’s in the Heat starting lineup to give us moments of unbridled ecstasy like this.
Flagrant fouls: Udonis Haslem and Tyler Hansbrough’s grudge goes way back … to Game 4. Each was called for a flagrant 1 foul, meaning neither was ejected. we expect the league to investigate Haslem’s call and possibly hit him with a one-game suspension. But with the game well in hand, Heat forward Dexter Pittman outdid his teammate with a brutal elbow to the face of the Pacers’ Lance Stephenson. Stephenson had been in the news for a choke gesture directed at James. Surely that wasn’t related to Pittman’s hit. Read more on the flagrants here.
Danny Granger: How’s this for a Tuesday: James said his antics were stupid, then he twisted his ankle, limped off, tried to return in the second half and limped off again. before the injury, Granger had been the Pacers’ best player, shooting 3-for-4 on three-pointers and finishing with 10 points.
The Pacers’ offense: You can’t win when you’re blowing shots like this. The team finished 30-for-89 from the field and 6-for-21 on threes. The defense wasn’t much better, but it at least had one good quarter, the second.
Mike Miller’s shoe: even Spoelstra seemed stunned when Miller couldn’t get his sneaker on, then threw it to the sideline and tried to play without it.
Mike Brown’s self-image: Metta World Peace threw a jab at the Los Angeles Lakers coach’s waistline, even as he was complimenting his coaching.