Slam dunk: Miami smothers Indiana to return to NBA Finals

MANILA, Philippines -- The Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals after smothering the Indiana Pacers, 99-76, in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference championship series Tuesday, June 4, at the American Airlines Arena.

LeBron James exploded for 32 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists and the reigning world champs used a huge second-quarter spurt to oust the upstart Pacers and return to the Last Dance for the third consecutive year.

Dwyane Wade woke up from a slumber and helped out with 19 points and 9 rebounds, Ray Allen contributed 3 three-pointers in the first half and Chris Bosh had 9 points and 8 boards for Miami.

Tied at 23-all early in the second period, the Heat zoomed to a 52-37 half-time advantage behind a telling 29-14 spell when Allen fired all his triples and Miami's Big Three teamed up to pile up the points. 

Playing with a shot at the NBA Finals for the first time in more than a decade, Indiana looked lost in the first 24 minutes and committed 15 turnovers.

Four of the Pacers' starters finished in double figures but Paul George saw his inspiring run come to a screeching halt by just posting 7 points on two-of-9 shooting before fouling out. -