Game Rewind: Heat 117, Pacers 112
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Pacers push Heat to limit
By Conrad Brunner
It took the best of the best to beat the Pacers.
LeBron James had a monster game with 41 points on 15-of-23 shooting (including five dunks), 13 rebounds, eight assists and three steals and red-hot Miami needed every bit of it to rally past the fiery visitors from Indiana 117-112 Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena.
The Pacers led by 13 in the third quarter and nine in the fourth but James rallied the Heat down the stretch, scoring seven in a row to help close the door.
Roy Hibbert led six Pacers players in double figures with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Danny Granger had 19 and Tyler Hansbrough 18.
The Pacers lost for the first time in five games under coach Frank Vogel, dropping to 21-28 overall, 8-17 on the road. Miami won its seventh in a row to improve to 38-14 overall, 20-5 at home, where the Heat has won its last five.
- "The best player in the world played at his best in his own building. It's tough to beat." Vogel
- "We would have been up by 40 if it wasn't for (James). He was unconscious." Granger
- "We figured it out in the fourth quarter. Held them to 15 points and we executed." James
- "I'll tell you what, (James) is playing MVP-like basketball on both ends of the court. He had a motor tonight that did not fatigue. It was amazing." Miami coach Erik Spoelstra
STAT OF THE GAME
Vogel was just the seventh coach in NBA history to win his first four games with his team scoring at least 100 points each time. The only coach to do so in his first five games was Larry Brown with the 1976 Denver Nuggets.
Though Miami's players talked of payback before the game, an indicator of their supreme motivation from Indiana's 93-77 victory in Miami on Nov. 22, the Pacers were up to the challenge. James tried to take over the game right away, scoring 14 in the first quarter including three monster dunks but Miami could not pull away.
The Pacers' bench scored all of the points in a 15-0 run in the second quarter that gave the Pacers a 46-37 lead. After Miami closed to 56-52 late in the half, Dahntay Jones had a four-point play and Roy Hibbert scored twice in a 10-0 run that made it 66-52. But James scored the final eight points of the half, including two more dunks, as Miami closed the gap to 66-63 at the break.
With some highlight plays of their own including Hibbert's coast-to-coast dunk in transition and a 180 dunk by Josh McRoberts the Pacers put together a 16-5 run to take a 94-81 lead late in the third quarter but Miami began to tighten the defensive screws and kept chipping away at the lead.
The Pacers were up 105-100 after Dahntay Jones' baseline jumper with 7:08 remaining but that would be their last field goal for more than six minutes. They missed nine in a row as Miami went on an 11-3 run to take a 111-108 lead into the final minute.
Danny Granger drove to cut it to one but the Pacers couldn't corral the rebound after Mike Miller's missed 3-pointer, giving Miami a critical second chance that James converted with a mid-range jumper that made it 113-110 with 14.1 seconds left.
Mike Dunleavy lofted a perfect cross-court inbounds lob to McRoberts, who dunked to again cut the deficit to one with 13.4 to go. After James made a pair of free throws to make it 115-112 with 8.9 seconds remaining, the Pacers couldn't get the ball inbounds, turning it over on a five-second violation, and Eddie House closed it out with a pair from the line.
BY THE NUMBERS
Hibbert was 8-of-14 from the field, adding three steals to his 20 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Granger scored 11 of his 19 in the third quarter and wound up 8-of-16 overall, 3-of-6 from the arc. Hansbrough hit all six of his shots and was 6-of-7 from the line for 18 points in 24 minutes. Darren Collison had 15 points and eight assists, McRoberts 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and Jones 11 points.
The Pacers shot 51.2 percent overall and won the board for the fifth straight game, 37-36. They shot just 5-of-18 (.278) in the fourth quarter, when they were outscored 27-15.
James was otherwordly, making 11-of-12 in the first half on the way to 26 of his 41 points. He was 9-of-13 from the line. Chris Bosh had 18 points and seven rebounds, Dwyane Wade 17 points and seven assists and Mario Chalmers 16 points for Miami, which shot 53 percent.
- Including a 44-24 advantage tonight, the Pacers bench has outscored Miami's 84-28 in two games this season.
- The Pacers were just the 14th team to score at least 100 points against the Heat this season.
- In his last 20 games, James is averaging 29.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
- Brandon Rush returned after missing the last six games with a sprained right ankle but did not play.
- T.J. Ford moved to the inactive list for the first time, joining Solomon Jones and Lance Stephenson.
The Pacers return home to face the Charlotte Bobcats in a game that could have postseason implications Wednesday in Conseco Fieldhouse (7 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Tickets: Buy Now | College Night | Kroger Plus Night