MIAMI — LeBron James said a few words at halftime to try and coax something more out of the Miami Heat. Turns out, whatever he said was unnecessary.
The look on his face was all the Heat needed.
With a brilliant third quarter, James immeasurably changed not just Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, but quite possibly whatever’s still left to decide in this series. James scored 16 of his 30 points in the decisive period, Udonis Haslem added 16 and the Heat pulled off a second-half rally to move one win away from the NBA Finals after beating the Indiana Pacers, 90-79, Thursday night.
‘‘With LeBron, it’s not what he says all the time,’’ Haslem said. ‘‘It’s just the look he gives.’’
And that look was back when the Heat needed it most. Game 6 of the East finals won’t be accompanied by the potential for dire consequences. The Heat lead the series 3-2, with a chance to finish it off in Indiana on Saturday night and move on to a finals matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
‘‘That’s what I came here for, to be able to compete for a championship each and every year,’’ James said. ‘‘I'm one step away from doing it once again. It’s not promised. I made a tough decision. I I envisioned something that was bigger as far as a team . . . and we've got an opportunity as a team, once again, for the third year straight to make a trip to the NBA Finals.’’