MIAMI — Their season, their legacy, their reign atop the NBA was all at stake, and the Miami Heat responded to all of that in a manner befitting champions.
With a blowout.
It’s on to the NBA Finals for the Heat after they put away the Indiana Pacers, who saw their hopes of a storybook upset fall apart in a hurry.
LeBron James scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, ailing Dwyane Wade matched his postseason high with 21 points and the Heat ran away from the Pacers, 99-76, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals Monday night.
The Heat earned the right to play the San Antonio Spurs in a series starting Thursday night in Miami.
Miami led by as many as 28 points, a shocking amount for a series that had an aggregate score of Heat 569, Pacers 564 entering Monday night.
The Heat trailed by six in the early going and were still down 21-19 after the first quarter, and it was starting to look as though it was going to be one of those down-to-the-wire nights.
Not even close.
Ray Allen added 10 points for Miami, which won its 78th game of the season, matching the 11th-best single-season total in NBA history.
Roy Hibbert scored 18 points for the Pacers, who also got 14 from David West, 13 from George Hill and 10 from Lance Stephenson. All-Star Paul George was held to seven points on 2-for-9 shooting and fouled out early in the fourth quarter.