Dwyane Wade top scored for the Miami Heat with 32 points as the defending NBA champions beat the Indiana Pacers 94-97 at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

LeBron James was a doubt pre-game with a sore ankle, but the reigning NBA MVP added 24 points while critical three point plays from Chris Bosh and Ray Allen late in the fourth quarter swung a tight affair in the Heat's favour.

The Heat wiped out a 15-point deficit in the second half to get the win, sealed by a huge Allen three-pointer down the stretch.

But the Pacers put up a superb fight in what many believe will be the lineup for the Eastern Conference Finals in this year's playoffs.

Paul George had 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and for much of the game, the Pacers were on top.

The Heat were making basic mistakes on defense and missing easy shots when left open. As the frustration mounted towards the end of the third quarter, LeBron James and Mario Chalmers got involved in a shouting match.

James has since tweeted: "I love @mchalmers15 like a blood brother! I was wrong and apologized to him! We good and will always be good. I ride wit him any & every day"

Chalmers, the Heat's point guard, said the matter was behind the pair after the game.

And after the game, LeBron paid tribute to a spirited performance from the Pacers, who are sure to be the Heat's main rival for a Finals berth this term.

"It was a good win," James told ESPN. "Good, good, quality win against a very good team on our home floor. We had to overcome a lot."

George led the Pacers with 24, while David West had 23 points and Lance Stephenson added 13. The Heat are now just one game behind their Indiana rivals in the race for the number one spot in the Eastern Conference.

A 10-point Heat run in the fourth quarter with just 3:21 remaining turned the tide of the game in their favour. George had the chance to tie the game with a three-pointer with four seconds to go, but the small forward missed under heavy pressure from James.

Topics:
#Miami Heat
#Indiana Pacers
#LeBron James
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