Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Paul George recorded a double-double with 29 points and 11 rebounds, as the Indiana Pacers took down the Miami Heat, 87-77, in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
Tuesday’s meeting between the two teams was the first since Miami beat Indiana in six games in last season’s playoffs.
David West added 14 points and 11 boards for the Pacers, who have won two in a row. Lance Stephenson tallied 13 points.
Dwyane Wade ended with 30 points for the Heat, who started a six-game road trip on Tuesday. LeBron James donated 22 points and 10 rebounds.
The Pacers held a 20-19 lead following a first quarter that featured eight lead changes and two ties.
Indiana started the second stanza on an 11-3 run. Gerald Green tallied all seven of his points during the surge, including a 3-pointer with 7:14 left to make it a 31-22 contest.
The margin reached 10, 38-28, on West’s layup and jumper with 4:34 to go. However, Miami responded with a 14-2 burst to take the lead. Wade scored 10 points during the flurry to give the Heat a 42-40 margin.
Roy Hibbert stopped the run with a jumper, making it a 42-42 contest at the break.
Miami’s lead reached seven, 51-44, on Mario Chalmers’ 3-pointer with 8:24 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pacers quickly switched the momentum by going on a 23-6 run to end the period. George tallied 10 points during the surge, including back-to-back 3- pointers to give Indiana a 67-57 margin.
Indiana started the fourth on a 10-3 flurry to extend its lead. George bookended the burst with a jumper and 3-pointer to make it a 77-60 game.
Miami never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Notes: Pacers coach Frank Vogel received a contract extension on Monday … George made four 3-pointers … Miami turned the ball over 14 times, leading to 22 Indiana points … Chris Bosh had 14 points for the Heat.
“A great team win, a real solid effort on the glass. We had great contributions from a number of people and our defense held up guarding the paint. It’s a regular season game but it’s always a confidence booster beating a team like Miami. Paul George was sensational and carried us offensively for a long time. When you look at Paul you can’t look at his stat line. Paul George is becoming the best defensive wing in the game. He took (last year and the playoff series with Miami) very, very personal. He’s really blossoming in front of our eyes.”
“(On beating the defending champs) We can’t overreact to this. We’re just happy to get a win. That’s a good basketball team. I just thought we buckled down defensively and really forced them into some tough looks. We got Wade settled down after the big first half he had. And Paul George was big for us offensively. (On outrebounding the Heat by 19) We knew they play some small lineups, so we just tried to get around the ball and give ourselves extra opportunities to score.”
“Tonight I really wanted to attack. My guys did a good job of getting me open and I was able to knock in shots. We take pride in playing at home and take pride in our defense. Tonight was a team defensive effort when we were able to load up on guys. We knew they went off, but we didn’t make it easy for them. (On playing New York on Thursday) We’ve got to watch some film, put this game behind us and see where we can get better. We’re going to need an effort just like tonight.”
“We just want to protect our house every time we have a home game. We just tried to get the W tonight. It doesn’t matter if we play the first team or the last team we try to protect the house. We’ve made some huge progress on both ends of the floor – defensively and offensively. And I think we still have a lot of potential.”