Forty-eight minutes of basketball is all that separates the Miami Heat from a return trip to the NBA Finals. Forty-eight minutes of basketball is all the separates the Miami Heat from the death of a dream.

So, there’s a big game on Monday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

In a series between opponents so perfectly matched, how one team deals with the added pressure of a Game-7 scenario might be the determining factor.

In other words, the Heat has been here and overcome, knocking off the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals. The Pacers, and that scrappy defense that has given the Heat fits, are new to this sort of struggle.

“Game 7s are a treasure in pro sports,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Obviously, we would have liked to have closed this out earlier. But Game 7s are the ones you’ll remember 20 years from now.”

Game 7s are where legends are made, and so there was LeBron James moments following the Heat’s loss on Saturday at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, slapping high fives with his teammates, encouraging them as they walked off the court and already looking ahead, already preparing mentally for one of the most important games of his career. James has carried the Heat through the Eastern Conference finals, but he’ll need his teammates to win Monday.