The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat have had some epic battles in recent years, and tonight's game was no different. After being down 18 points in the third quarter, the Heat rallied to defeat the Pacers 103-100 in overtime in the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.
At the end of the first half, the Pacers led 47-44 and followed up two solid quarters with a fantastic start to the third. With just over four minutes to play in the period, Indiana was in the midst of a 23-8 run, and the Blue & Gold held a 70-52 advantage.
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But as we've seen when these teams get together, it's not over until all 48 minutes have expired. Miami came charging back, outscoring the Pacers 43-25 during the rest of regulation.
"We definitely missed our key players and big players," Paul George said. "We still had enough to win this one. I thought they slowed the game down with the free-throws. It was hard for us to get going."
Indiana led for most of the final moments of the fourth quarter, but couldn't get the stop it needed.
A Monta Ellis jumper gave the Pacers a 94-93 lead with 16.7 seconds to play. The following possession, Ian Mahinmi forced Chris Bosh into a tough fadeaway, and his shot hit the side of the basket. Rodney Stuckey picked up the loose ball and was fouled but only made one of his two free throws.
With just 2.7 seconds remaining, Dwyane Wade was able to get to the rim and his layup at the buzzer tied the game at 95-95, sending the contest to overtime.
In the extra period, Miami led 101-100 with 33 seconds to play. Mahinmi was fouled but missed both free throws. George grabbed an offensive rebound, but committed a turnover.
The following possession, Wade had a chance to put Miami up three, but his jumper rattled out. Justise Winslow was there to pull down the offensive rebound and was fouled.
The rookie went to the free-throw line, making his first, then missing his second, giving the Heat a 102-100 advantage with 5.8 seconds left. But yet again, Miami grabbed another clutch offensive rebound. This time it was Bosh, and he was fouled immediately.
The Miami big man also split his attempts at the charity stripe, giving Miami a 103-100 lead with 3.9 seconds to play and Indiana a chance to tie.
The Pacers executed a play to get Paul George a look from the right corner, but his potential game-tying triple missed the mark, and Miami had completed its comeback attempt.
"It's tough, you know. George Hill is out, C.J. Miles is out. Chase (Budinger) is struggling so we were limited with our three point options," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said of the play. "So they loaded up on Paul (George). We were able to get him a fairly decent look in the corner but he wasn't able to knock it down."
George led the way offensively for Indiana, scoring a game-high 32 points. Ellis added 17 points and nine assists.
Pacing the Heat was the combo of Bosh and Wade. Bosh had a double-double with 31 points and 11 rebounds, and Wade contributed 27 points and eight boards.
Inside The Numbers
Monta Ellis' nine assists tied his season high.
For the third game in a row, Paul George scored more than 30 points.
Chris Bosh's 31 points were a season high.
You Can Quote Me On That
"They slowed the game down. They somehow got (39) free-throws to our 25. The game was just slowed down and it was in their hands." -Paul George
"It went down to the wire, we knew that. They just made more plays down the stretch than we did. They got more shots and we missed a couple key free-throws we should have made. They probably could have turned the game around. Sometimes it falls like that." -Monta Ellis
"This is just classic Eastern Conference basketball. Two teams defending, making big plays going down the stretch and our two Miami Heat veteran warriors [Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade] were fantastic with those. Not just the baskets, but those willful plays." -Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
Stat of the Night
Through three quarters, Indiana was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line. From that point on, the Pacers made just 6-of-13 attempts.
- This was only the second time this season the Pacers deployed a starting lineup of Monta Ellis, C.J. Miles, Paul George, Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahinmi
- Pacers head coach Frank Vogel used all 12 available players
- C.J. Miles left the game after just seven minutes with a shoulder injury
The Pacers head to Orlando Wednesday to face Victor Oladipo and the Magic. Tip-off is set for 7:00 PM ET.