Notebook: Pacers 87, Heat 77

Posted Jan 9, 2013 12:11 AM

Conrad Brunner, for

There was a transcendent star dominating the game at both ends of the floor, but his name didn't begin with LeBron or end with Wade. Paul George was the man in the middle of everything, scoring 29 points while playing solid defense against both of Miami's superstars to lead Indiana to an 87-77 victory over the visiting Heat Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. George also had 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Most of his night was spent defending LeBron James, who managed 22 points but committed seven turnovers. Some was against Dwyane Wade, who scored 23 in the first half but took just four shots in the second. And George did not commit a foul until nearly 44 minutes elapsed, and then only on help defense on Chris Bosh. It was a remarkable performance from a young star emerging in the absence of Danny Granger, out until at least the end of this month recovering from a knee injury. Indiana won its eighth in a row at home to improve to 21-14. Miami dropped to 23-10, 7-7 on the road. The Pacers outrebounded the Heat 55-36 and held a dominating 23-6 advantage in second-chance points thanks to 22 offensive boards.

QUOTABLE: "Paul George was sensational, carried us for a long stretch of the game offensively and played 43 minutes of solid defense against LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. (He) has become the best defensive wing in the game and impacts the game in a variety of ways."
-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel

THE STAT: After Miami took a 51-44 lead with 8:24 left in the third quarter, the Heat managed just 26 points on 8-for-24 shooting with nine turnovers in the game's final 20:23.

TURNING POINT: Responding to Miami's early burst to start the second half, George ignited Indiana on a 33-9 run that spanned more than 16 minutes, scoring 17 points. The defense limited Miami to 4-for-17 shooting and forced six turnovers during the run, which produced a 77-60 Indiana lead with 8:08 remaining.

QUOTABLE II: "Tonight I really wanted to attack. My guys did a good job of getting me open and I was able to knock in shots. We take pride in playing at home and take pride in our defense. Tonight was a team defensive effort when we were able to load up on guys."

-- George

HOT: George had been in a mild shooting slump, missing all six of his 3-point attempts and going 8-for-29 overall in his previous two games, but brushed that aside. He was 4-for-9 from the arc in a 12-for-27 night, committing just one turnover. Lance Stephenson made 3 of 4 from the 3-point line and scored 13 points. Wade was on fire in the first half, going 3-for-4 from the arc and 8-for-12 overall but was mysteriously silent in the second.

NOT: Miami's rebuilt bench was atrocious, combing for just eight points on 3-for-14 shooting. Designated sharpshooters Ray Allen and Shane Battier both were scoreless, combining to miss eight shots overall, seven from the 3-point line. Indiana center Roy Hibbert was 3-for-12, and five of his misses were putbacks.

QUOTABLE III: "I see him playing with a lot of confidence and a lot of opportunities. The simple fact that Danny Granger is hurt has created the opportunity for him to show what he can do. He's doing everything. He's rebounding, scoring ... He was a good player last year but we weren't able to see it because he wasn't a featured player."

-- James on George

GOOD MOVE: After Miami jumped out to a 51-44 lead early in the third quarter, Stephenson picked up his fourth foul. Vogel gambled and left the young guard in the game and he responded with a pair of 3-pointers that helped get the Pacers started on their game-changing run.

BAD MOVE: Stephenson's confidence became a problem down the stretch as he hoisted four straight errant jumpers in the final minutes, allowing Miami to cut the lead to as few as seven points before the Pacers closed it out at the free throw line.

NOTABLE: Indiana point guard George Hill played 23 scoreless minutes before leaving the game for good in the fourth quarter with the flu. ... The Pacers have won 17 of 24 and moved into a tie for first in the Central Division with Chicago. ... Hibbert has 20 offensive rebounds in the last two games. ... Wade had not made more than one 3-pointer in a game this season but hit three in the first half. ... Indiana is 8-7 when scoring less than 90 points. ... Miami's 77 points were a season-low. ... Other than the big three of James, Wade and Bosh, the rest of the Miami roster managed 11 points. ... Miami entered with the fewest road games in the league (13) and did not start a six-game trip well. ... This was Indiana's fifth win against a team currently in playoff position, but three have come in the last four games.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Thursday vs. New York, Saturday vs. Charlotte, Sunday @ Brooklyn. For the Heat, Thursday @ Portland, Saturday @ Sacramento, Monday @ Golden State.