Heat 95, Pacers 86
MIAMI — Despite losing forward Chris Bosh to an abdominal injury in the second quarter, the Miami Heat held on behind the play of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for a 95-86 victory Sunday over the Indiana Pacers at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The victory gave the Heat a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series that continues Tuesday on the Heat’s home court.
James led the Heat with 32 points and 15 rebounds, with Wade adding 29 points.
That proved enough to hold on against a balance Pacers attack led by the 17 points of forward David West and center Roy Hibbert.
Bosh was lost with a lower-abdominal strain that leaves his status in doubt the balance of the series.
For the Pacers, the penalties were more short-term, with foul trouble severely limiting the rotations of coach Frank Vogel.
The Heat put it away behind a late charge from James and Wade, who combined for 20 consecutive Heat points to put Miami up 92-86 with just more than a minute to play.
With James scoring 10 points in the third period, the Heat briefly regained the lead in the quarter, before going into the fourth tied 70-70.
With Bosh sidelined for the second half, James had 12 rebounds by the end of the third quarter.
From nine points down moments earlier, the Heat went into halftime down 48-42. The Heat took advantage of a charging call late in the second period on guard Leandro Barbosa against forward Mike Miller, the very type of call Vogel had lobbied against going into the series.
The Heat went into the intermission with concerns, with Bosh suffering the lower-abdominal strain on a dunk he turned into a 3-point play late in the second period. He did not return for the second half, and now could be out longer.
Bosh had 13 first-half points, tying Wade for the Heat lead at the intermission. West led the Pacers with 12 at the half.
It was struggle early for Pacers forward Danny Granger, who had his first scoreless first half since 2007.
James was scoreless for the Heat in the second quarter, missing both of his attempts.
With Tyler Hansbrough energizing the Pacers, making his four first-half shots, Indiana was sparked by its bench during the second quarter.
The Pacers led 23-20 at the end of the first quarter, but faced early foul trouble, with Granger, West and Paul George each called for two fouls in the opening period.
Late in the second quarter, Pacers guard George Hill was forced out with his third foul, then called for a pair of quick fouls early in the third quarter.
The Heat fell behind by nine early, opening 1 for 8 from the field with four turnovers, but closed the gap with an 8-0 run midway through the second period.
NOTES: NBA Commissioner David Stern presented James with his 2012 NBA Most Valuable Player trophy at midcourt just prior to the opening tip . . . Fans were given James MVP white headbands to commemorate the moment . . . Fined $15,000 Saturday by the NBA for his pre-series complaints about how the Heat draw charging calls by flopping, Vogel declined comment Sunday on the sanction. “I have the utmost respect for the league office and their officials. I respect their decision,” he said . . . Vogel said he did not expect the Heat to be forced into matchups against his Pacers in the series. “I think when you have the better record, you do what you do,” he said . . . Sunday was the Pacers’ first appearance on ABC this season and only their second on national television beyond NBA TV.