moved to midcourt. "Dirty … Dwyane," fans chanted at Dwyane Wade. Chris "Birdman" Andersen was booed whenever he went in for a layup, evidently on general principle. And this was before Game 3 began.
This was as the Heat warmed up in what Indiana coach Frank Vogel said an hour before tip-off would be, "the best crowd in this building in quite some time, probably since the Finals." That was 13 years ago. All signs pointed to that, right?
So this was your nightmare, Indianapolis.
This was the Heat we hadn't seen these playoffs. This was a basketball machine slipping into gear, right from the start, when Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem — yes, Udonis Haslem — began raining down shot after shot and, quickly, everyone joined in the 114-96 win.
Indiana fans came to cheer a guard change in these Eastern Conference finals. They instead watched the Heat become the Heat again, and not just be the one-man LeBron James show they were the first two games this series.
"We had a lot of contributions to night,'' Spoelstra said.
That's the best news for Heat fans. Everyone played well. The entire team.
And you better have a team if you want to win the title. That's the overwhelming lesson of the past couple of years, the myth of the single superstar actually giving rise to this Heat era.
Oh, LeBron did his part. He spent so much time in the paint while scoring 22 points Sunday, and beating up Indiana's Paul George, he must still smell like turpentine today. But you
can go down the full roster on this night.
Wade was back to having good moments with 18 points and eight assists. Mario Chalmers had impactful stretches. Andersen didn't miss in fourshots, running his perfect streak to a DiMaggio-ish 17 shots.
And they set a franchise-record of five turnovers. Five. And even that was a bit of a disappointment as they had just one turnover in a 70-point first half of basketball heaven.
Does that define basketball near-perfection?
For two previous games against Indiana, they never had more than five-point lead. They led by at least that much from the second quarter on. In the third quarter, when Indiana closed it to seven points, Spoelstra called timeout and look who took over.
Haslem hit a 19-foot jumpshot.
Chalmers made two foul shots.
Chalmers made a short jumpshot.
Haslem hit another long jumpshot.
And Chalmers then made an 11-foot running shot to push the lead back to 13 points.