INDIANAPOLIS - The gold was for show. The Pacers had enough swagger themselves to send a capacity crowd home with smiles.
In front of a unified front of fans mostly sporting "Gold Swagger" t-shirts the Pacers enjoyed one of the more decisive victories in recent memory, dismantling the Heat 94-75 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semi-Final series.
NBA Playoff series and shows their gritty win in Game 2 at Miami was indeed no fluke. Again the Pacers were balanced in scoring, putting four in double digits with the top being guard George Hill who led Indiana with 20 points.
More impressive was the Pacers defensive on Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who was held to 2-of-13 shooting and scored just five points. Mario Chalmers score 25 for the Heat with Lebron James adding 22, but it was far from enough to keep the Heat in teh game.
In the end it was another big third quarter that sent Frank Vogel's team on their way to a win. Tied at the half at 42 Indiana put the clamps on the Heat on defense while turning up the intensity on offense.
The Pacers opened the half on a 19-7 run, aided by a pair of Danny Granger three-pointer that extended the lead to 12. More scoring and solid defense from there kept Miami to just five more points the rest of the quarter as the Pacers entered the fourth with a 14-point lead.
Unlike Game 2, where the Pacers allowed a double-digit third quarter lead dwindle, the home team turned up the intensity to burn the Heat. Granger's 18-foot jumper capped a quick spurt to start the quarter and pushed the lead to 18.
After that Miami could only get the lead down to 11 as the Pacers enjoyed their best finish to a game in the playoffs this season and for a second time in four nights enjoyed a satisfying post game celebration.
Pacers show swagger in big Game 3 victory
Like Game 2, the Pacers have a big third quarter to pace another win over the Heat 94-75 Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for a 2-1 series lead.
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