MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Miami Heat offense in the second half. With Chris Bosh gone, they had no other choice.
And if Bosh doesn't return soon, it may have to become a trend.
James accepted his third MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then scored 26 of his game-high 32 points while playing every second of the second half — adding a season-high 15 rebounds as well — to help the Heat survive some rough stretches and pull out a 95-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday night.
Wade scored 29 points for the Heat, but the concern level was ramped up considerably afterward because of Bosh, who did not play in the second half because of a lower abdominal strain. The Heat said Monday that Bosh was out indefinitely after an MRI exam confirmed the diagnosis.
"Our brother is going to go (Monday) to see if he can get back out there and play with us," Wade said. "If not, then we've got to have someone step up very big. You can't fill Chris Bosh's shoes."
David West and Roy Hibbert each scored 17 points and combined for 23 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 10 points each from Darren Collison and George Hill. Indiana controlled long stretches of the first half and didn't trail by more than two points at any time until the fourth quarter, when it was outscored 25-16. Wade and James scored 42 points in the second half, while Indiana's entire roster managed 38.
"We started to get defensive stops," James said. "We started getting things rolling."
Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.
James scored 16 points alone in the fourth, matching Indiana's total. Nonetheless, the Pacers sounded confident for days leading up to the start of the series, and left Sunday night sounding the same way.
"We have the capability to beat these guys," said Hibbert, who was guarding Bosh on the play when he got hurt.
Bosh caught a pass from James near the foul line late in the first half, took one dribble to start a drive past Hibbert, got down the lane and dunked the ball hard with his left hand while the Indiana center appeared to hit his right arm. Bosh fell forward as he landed, resting on his hands and knees for about 15 seconds before getting up slowly. He made his free throw, and as he headed back the other way he grimaced and grabbed at his midsection.
He was defending Hibbert on the ensuing possession, simply letting him get off a shot as he fell forward to his hands and knees again. Bosh looked at the Miami bench, got up and headed to the locker room for evaluation. He did not return, and sitting courtside, his wife, Adrienne, covered her anguished expression with her hands as he hobbled off.
"We hope for the best," James said.
Added Hibbert: "I didn't even know what happened to him. I made a clean play. I fouled him."