94
97

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM ET at American Airlines Arena

Game Rewind: Pacers 94, Heat 97

Scott Agness | December 18, 2013

Game Recap

It was just December 18th and the second of four regular season meetings between the Pacers and the Miami Heat, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. However, with the hype and feel of the game, you wouldn’t have known it.

Four-time MVP LeBron James scoffs at the idea of these two teams being rivals, yet before the game when answering questions about his status due to an ankle injury, he said, “it would be hard to miss this one.” James played, and Pacers head coach Vogel, who missed shootaround because of food poisoning, felt well enough to coach.

The Pacers led for most of three quarters and by as many as 15, but it was the Heat that played a better second half. Up eight with 3:52 to play, the Pacers were outscored 15-4 and missed their final five shots in a 97-94 loss in Miami. The Heat (19-6) are now just one game back of the Pacers (20-5) in the conference standings.

Early on, the Pacers didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball, which resulted in six easy points in transition for the Heat, who looked to avenge their loss in Indy eight days ago. The Pacers used a 6-0 spurt to go in front and eventually led by four points after one period.

Indiana’s bench not only maintained the lead in the second quarter, but also added to it. Ian Mahinmi stepped in admirably for Hibbert, who dealt with foul trouble all night. The Pacers’ backup center had a swat for the highlight reel and then a putback layup at the other end. The Pacers outscored the Heat 10-2 to start the second and opened up a double-digit lead. Midway through the quarter, Lance Stephenson and Mario Chalmers tangled up and exchanged some words, resulting in a double technical.

That awoke up the late-arriving crowd. The Heat went on an 11-2 run, which featured a rare sighting of forward Udonis Haslem — a one-time starter whose role has been diminished to limited playing time this season. As James sat on the bench with three fouls, the Pacers outscored the Heat 12-6 for a 52-41 lead at the break. The Pacers didn’t turn it over in the second, and held Heat without a 3-point field goal (0-for-8).

The Pacers had to manage without Hibbert for much of the third quarter. The Pacers’ anchor on defense picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in a span of 47 seconds minutes into the period. David West and Paul George combined for 22 of Indiana’s 24 points, but the Heat were plus-6 in the quarter. James ignited the crowd with a late dunk, and Miami trimmed the Pacers’ lead to 76-71 heading into the fourth.

With the momentum, the Heat continued to chip into the league. West banked in a 12-foot fadeaway to push the lead back to seven with 3:21 remaining, but that was Indiana’s final basket of the game. Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen made a layup and then after a missed jumper by Lance Stephenson, Wade took off and had a wide-open slam in transition, making it a three-point game. Chris Bosh and Ray Allen then hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Miami the lead for good.

The Pacers had a chance to win the game, down by one with 25 seconds to play. Out of a timeout, George Hill ran a pick-and-roll with West. Hill got to the baseline and sent a pass George’s way in the left corner, but he put too much on it. With space between Hill and the defender, he had room to throw up a floater, a shot he’s very comfortable taking. Instead, James stole the pass, and that was the ballgame.

The Pacers’ offensive execution had problems down the stretch. They were slow to start the offense, dribbled too much, and needed to swing the ball quicker. This one slipped out of their hands, as the Heat scored 12 of the game’s final 14 points and came away with the home win.

Through two regular season games, both teams have held serve. Now, they won’t meet again until March 26, but they’ll play twice over the final three weeks.

Inside the Numbers

After going 10-for-37 in the last three games, Paul George hit 8-of-16 shots and scored a team-high 25 points, his first 20-point night in four games. He also grabbed eight rebounds and had six assists while being primarily responsible for guarding James on defense.

David West had 23 points, one point shy of his season-high and his ninth game in a row in double figures. Lance Stephenson finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Luis Scola added eight points off the bench.

Dwyane Wade dropped a season-high 32 points on 15-of-25 shooting. LeBron James, who was bothered by a left ankle sprain, managed 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Chris Bosh chipped in 15. The Heat’s big three accounted for 71 of their 97 points (73%). In the Heat's loss in Indiana on Dec. 10, none of them scored over 17 (and had just 55% of Miami’s points).

The Pacers fall to 18-1 with a lead entering the final quarter and 20-1 when holding an opponent to 100 points or less.

Miami scored 21 fast break points, one point below the season high for an Indiana opponent.

The Pacers had 15 second chance points to the Heat’s two.

Quoteworthy

“It’s disappointing. As a guard, I got to be better on that last play. I feel like I put Paul in a bad situation by throwing the ball too hard. It was perfectly there. When I looked at the defense, I seen Paul going to the corner so I’m thinking, ‘The ball got to zip to the corner’ and last minute, he decides to cut and I still was on the corner pass. I threw a bullet knowing LeBron was coming … and I just threw it a little bit to hard for his hands.” – George Hill on the key play late

“I think that (Miami’s) ability to get run-outs late in the fourth quarter, [gave them] easy buckets. It was the difference for them. I thought that we held the ball a little bit too much offensively in the fourth quarter. They’re a great defensive team. We got to move the ball against them. We did for the most part most of the night, but it got a little sticky for us for a couple of possessions.” – Frank Vogel

“They stole the game from us. … We’re not in the business of moral victories. Obviously we didn’t play well enough to win. Obviously we have a lot of work to do.” – David West

“It’s disappointing. As a guard, I got to be better on that last play. I feel like I put Paul in a bad situation by throwing the ball too hard. It was perfectly there. When I looked at the defense, I seen Paul going to the corner so I’m thinking, ‘The ball got to zip to the corner’ and last minute, he decides to cut and I still was on the corner pass. I threw a bullet knowing LeBron was coming … and I just threw it a little bit to hard for his hands.” – George Hill on the key play late

“I thought it was a foul. I went into my shot, got pushed in the back, I thought it was a foul, nothing was called. We lost the game. Outside of that, we still should have taken care of business.” – Paul George on his final shot

“We played a great game. We shared the ball, we attacked them the way we wanted to attack them which is draw a double-team and share it to the next man. We played the style we wanted to play. We limited our turnovers. That last two minutes is where it got away from us.” – Paul George

Stat of the Game

Miami outscored Indiana in the paint 50-30 – the first team to put up more than 46 on the Pacers in the lane – and edged them on the boards by one, 37-36.

Noteworthy

  • Miami has won five straight regular season meetings at home. In games over the last two season, the home team in this series is 10-2.
  • Lance Stephenson has a team-high five technical fouls this season.
  • The Pacers wore their gold uniforms once again against the Heat, who wore sported their all red uniforms.
  • Actor/comedian Mike Epps and former Colts running back Edgerrin James were in attendance.

Up Next

The Pacers return home to face the Houston Rockets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night. The game tips at 8 PM EST.

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