Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 90, Heat 84
Scott Agness | December 10, 2013
The Miami Heat ended the Pacers season last postseason, delivering the final blow in Game 7 of the conference finals on their court. That moment is permanently stuck in the mind’s of the Pacers, fueled them over the summer, and motivated them to finish the regular season with the top seed in the East. Indiana’s quest the No. 1 seed is undoubtedly discussed heading into every game.
Before the two squared off for the first four meetings this season, the Pacers stated that there was a clear importance to the game. Meanwhile, it resonated with the back-to-back champs, but they downplayed the meaning.
Indiana’s (19-3) strength is with its size and defense, and those were the two determining factors in the Pacers 90-84 victory over the Heat (16-6) Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Roy Hibbert posted a game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting and as coach Frank Vogel says frequently, he was a beast at the rim.
Taking the floor, none of the starters slapped hands as they traditionally do. It was strictly business.
The Heat took the early lead and led for the first 24 minutes. Indiana admittedly had jitters, too amped up for the game at hand — and it was obvious with their offensive execution. Unlike his teammates, Hibbert got involved early and often, scoring nine of their first 11 points while holding down the paint defensively. The Heat scored 30 on the Pacers in the first period and led by 11.
Fouls quickly added up for the Pacers in the second quarter and that combined with 13 turnovers had them ticked off. Even so, they were able to hang around. Fortunately for them, the Heat missed seven straight field goals at one point and were just 6-of-20 in the quarter. Lance Stephenson finished the half with a bucket plus one, to draw the Pacers within seven.
Paul George and the Pacers picked up their defensive energy, played with a calmer demeanor and won the third quarter by 11 points. The Pacers took their first lead of the game, 58-57, on a three-point play Hibbert. After missing all four of his shots in the first half, George had 12 of his 17 in the quarter, including the Pacers’ final 10. Their lead was four, 68-64, with one quarter to play.
George’s outstanding play continued into the fourth, where the Pacers’ star drilled a 3-pointer in the corner to put them ahead by nine. With about two minutes to play, Heat center Chris Andersen caught the ball underneath and finished on two consecutive possessions. The next time down, Hibbert altered James’ shot at the rim at a critical point. James, who was 1-for-4 in the quarter, missed everything on a deep attempt and David West sealed the win for the Pacers with a left-handed runner from the baseline.
So many times, the Pacers made the Heat uncomfortable and forced them into quick shots. With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade attacking, it’s games like this where Indiana’s wings truly appreciate Hibbert having their back at the rim. He’s the last line of defense and came up big tonight.
In the last 10 days, the Pacers were victorious at Los Angeles (Clippers), Utah, San Antonio, and then completed their brutal schedule with a win over Miami at home. Their home record remains unblemished (10-0), with six of their final eight games this month right here in Indianapolis.
Inside the Numbers
Roy Hibbert tallied 24 points, his eight straight game in double figures. David West had 17 points (6-of-8 shooting), nine rebounds, and four assists, but he also chalked up seven turnovers. Paul George made all six foul shots and finished with 17 points.
LeBron James entered the contest shooting 59 percent. Tonight, he was 6-for-16 (37.5 percent), and missed 3-of-4 shots in the 4Q — plus three turnovers. Eight of his 17 points came in the first period. Dwyane Wade was 6-of-14 with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Chris Andersen added 10 points off the bench.
The Pacers are now a remarkable 10-2 when trailing at the half and 17-0 with a lead entering the fourth quarter.
Miami scored 20 points off Indiana’s 21 turnovers.
The Pacers shot 50.7 percent for their game, and improved to 5-0 when making at least half their shots.
The Pacers were +10 on the glass and scored 14 second chance points.
“…We’re a step closer to our goal.” – Frank Vogel
“Our half-court execution was not as crisp as it should be. We know how to attack this team and we weren’t doing it very effectively. We settled down, and got the spacing that we needed and the passing we needed in the third quarter.” – Vogel on what changed in the second half
“Everybody’s going to talk about this team’s talent, but this team has incredible will and heart and desire to do whatever it takes, and that’s what it's about on the basketball court. It’s the ability to whatever needs to happen for us to get a win, that’s what they do and they find a way.” – Vogel
“Despite the turnovers, we shot the ball well. I think we shot 50 percent. That was just us sharing the ball. I think in the first half, it was just jitters. We haven’t played a team that aggressive and that really pressured and trapped the basketball like they did in the first half. [In the] second half, we just shared the ball and got wide open looks.” – Paul George
“Roy was big for us, literally, tonight. I say it every time: He’s the best rim protector in this league and he bails us out on so many occasions.” – Paul George on Roy Hibbert
“When they went (big), it allowed me to roam a little bit, try to get in D-Wade and LeBron’s face. We don’t go small. That’s not our thing. We always stay big and we make teams adjust to us.” – Roy Hibbert
“You could tell before I even got here that everybody wanted to beat Miami pretty bad. Since I got here, it gets a little contagious. It’s a big game. They’re the former champions and we’re fighting them for the 1-seed.” – Luis Scola
Stat of the Game
The Pacers scored 50 points in the second half while limiting the Heat, who scored 30 in the first quarter, to just 37.
- The Pacers have won the last four regular season meetings at home.
- With nine rebounds tonight, David West surpassed 5,000-career rebounds.
- In the stands: Justin Timberlake, Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, Mayor Greg Ballard, Governor Mike Pence, Rik Smits, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne and at least 15 other Colts players, Drew Storen, professional tennis player Jim Courier, and former Indy mayor Steve Goldsmith.
Friday, Dec. 13 vs Charlotte – 7 p.m. EST