The Indiana Pacers caught fire in the second half and separated enough from the Miami Heat to win 87-77 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight.
Paul George led the Pacers with 29 points on 12-of-27 shooting, at one point catching fire and hitting back-to-back 3-pointers late in the third quarter to help push Indiana's lead to double digits going into the fourth. In the final 3:21 of the third period, George scored eight points.
After falling behind 38-28 early, Miami engineered a run to tie the game up at halftime behind 16 second quarter points from Dwyane Wade, but Miami lost its momentum in the second half.
Wade led the Heat with 30 points, including a season best four 3-pointers, on 9-of-16 shooting. Wade only took four field goals in the second half though, with zero attempts in the third quarter.
LeBron James scored 22 points for the Heat, keeping his streak of consecutive 20-point games alive.
The Pacers (21-14) out-rebounded the Heat (23-10) 55 to 36, at times embarrassing Miami on the glass, continuing a trend of the Heat getting uncharacteristically pounded on the boards, despite a strong showing against the Wizards a few days ago. Pacer players consistently followed up their own shots, specifically Roy Hibbert, David West, and Paul George, who all had double digit rebounds, led by Hibbert's 14.
But it wasn't only a rebounding issue for Miami. The Heat got just 11 points from it's supporting cast around it's three All-stars and shot just 41 percent from the field, one of the lowest marks of the season. The Pacers are the best defense in the NBA and it showed.