But then James hit a jump shot and closed the quarter with assists on three-pointers from Chris Bosh and Norris Cole. With each pass and each point, the Heat's giant star awoke from his slumber.
James opened scoring in the fourth quarter with a layup and assisted on another Cole three-pointer, and whatever the Pacers did for a majority of the first quarters no longer worked. The Heat went on to win 87-83 and return home with the series tied 1-all.
That's what happens when James decides to take over a game.
His good friend Dwyane Wade helped out, too. Wade had a 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, and James had 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. The pair either scored or assisted on Miami's final 33 points, from James' basket cutting Indiana's lead to 60-56 with 2:39 left in the third quarter to James' free throw giving Miami an 87-80 lead with 11.2 seconds to play in the fourth.
"You have to have great mental stability because there's going to be possessions where they defend you, they play you well," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "This is a hotly-contested series, two teams that defend, physical, and you just have to keep on staying with it and staying with it.
"(LeBron) wasn't in a rhythm through the first 30 minutes of the game, and he just found a way to break free on a couple cuts, in transition and that just kind of got him going. At this point, it's just whatever it takes."
James and Wade combined for 22 of the Heat's 25 fourth-quarter points and they scored Miami's final 20 points. James said he was unaware of dominance until after the game.
"We believe it doesn't matter whoever has the ball in each other's hand, we're going to make the right play not only for ourselves but for our team," James. "(Tuesday) was one of those nights once again, where we were making plays, finding guys, and finding each other, finding a good rhythm with the ball in our hands.
"We don't know we're doing those things, but we just try to make plays and do whatever it takes to help our team win."
Those moments are still special for Wade, and without him in Game 2, the Pacers would have won.
"That's what we envisioned, having two guys that is able to be dynamic at the same time," Wade said. "It doesn't happen all the time, but fourth quarters and those moments, that's where we envisioned it happening.
"Like I said, we're just making what plays we feel is right. Obviously, I always know where No. 6 is on the floor, and he always knows where I am on the floor as well. But at the same time, we're being aggressive, and whatever play comes out of it is probably the best play for our team."
Wade's two assists in the fourth quarter went to James, and James' final assist went to Wade. It was a beautiful play, set up by a Bosh pick as James drove to the basket and drew four defenders. Wade slipped down the baseline, caught a bounce and completed a reverse dunk. It gave Miami an 86-78 lead with 21.6 seconds left.
"That's what we expect from those guys because they've been there before," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
Wade has been spectacular in the first two games, possibly Miami's best player. He's averaging 25.0 points in the series, and when he needed to shut down Indiana's Paul George in the fourth quarter, he did that.
Miami's plan to give Wade games off during the regular season — he missed 28 games — has been worth it. Wade scored 28 points in the series-clinching Game 5 victory against the Brooklyn Nets before dropping 27 in Game 1 vs. Indiana and 23 in Game 2.
"There's a lot of basketball left, but I feel good," Wade said.
It was a peculiar game. The Pacers seemed in control even though they were shooting 40.0% while the Heat were at 50.7%.
Indiana probably felt like it let one go that it should have won, and Miami probably feels a little lucky to go home with the series tied.
"Even though we won, we're going to break down the film as if we lost and see ways we can get better even with some of the mistakes that we made," James said. "We're not comfortable, and we're not satisfied at all."
The Heat are prepared to play any style and win any way. Even if that means James and Wade — or is it Wade and James? — taking control.