The Miami Heat had already lost to the Indiana Pacers twice this season in Indianapolis. So when they welcomed them to South Beach, they thought it would be different.
But it wasn't. Well, at least for most of the game.
The game was already delayed 30 minutes due to a lighting issue inside the AAA. Miami was on a back-to-back and had some injury issues.
The Heat were without Hassan Whiteside (sore knee) and elected to start Chris Andersen in his place. That didn't go to well. Andersen played 10 minutes, five to begin each half, and was a -24 on the court. The Pacers were also playing without George Hill and CJ Miles left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury.
The Pacers started the game 9-0, and had control of the entire game...mostly. Paul George and company continually found ways to score, offensive rebound and take advantage of the Heat without Whiteside. They led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter.
But then a run that was sparked initially by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was followed by the bench. Goran Dragic led them as well as contributions from Tyler Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, and Justise Winslow. The Heat took an 88-87 lead in the fourth. They relinquished it quickly, but then a Chris Bosh three-pointer gave them a 93-92 lead with a minute to play. After Wade missed a jumper, Monta Ellis made a jumper to give the Pacers the lead with 16 seconds left.
Bosh missed a terrible look, and then Stuckey hit one free throw. 2.7 seconds to go, Heat ball, and it was all you could ask for.
Wade gets to the rim and and sends the game into overtime.
Dwyane Wade wants 5 more minutes of HEAT basketball in his House. #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/PLx6RMVPGU— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 5, 2016
In overtime, Miami and Indiana stayed close, but Dwyane Wade helped the Heat get some space and a lead. The Heat had a chance to put the game out of reach, but Chris Bosh missed 1/2 FTs. Offensive rebounding plays by Wade and Justise Winslow helped the Heat extend a long possession.
The Pacers had the ball with 3.9 seconds left and trailing by 3 points. Paul George missed a three at the buzzer to tie the game and the Heat came away with the win 103-100.
The story starts with 31 points from Chris Bosh and 27 from Wade. They provided plenty of scoring. But it ends with the play of Justise Winslow in his 36 minutes off the bench. His hustle, his defense don't go unnoticed.
The Heat are now 21-13 on the season and about to embark on a long road trip after one more at home on Wednesday.