Miami (TSN) – Despite its lengthy winning streak, Miami came into Sunday’s contest with something to prove against a Pacers team which had blown them out twice already this season.
The Heat did just that as Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers combined for 73 points to extend Miami’s franchise-best winning streak to 18 games in a convincing 105-91 victory over Indiana down in South Beach.
Wade scored 23 points and had six steals to lead a defensive charge in which the Heat forced the Pacers into 18 turnovers. Bosh shot 11-for-15 and had 24 points with three blocks and Chalmers buried 5-of-6 from long distance en route to a game-high 26.
LeBron James chipped in with 13 points, seven assists and six boards in the victory for the Heat, who had lost by double-digits in both prior meetings this season with Indiana.
David West scored a team-high 24 points. Paul George struggled for 10 points on 2-for-11 shooting for Indiana, which was the last team to defeat Miami back on Feb. 1.
After a slow start, the Heat quickly took control and never trailed again after Chalmers put Miami ahead, 15-14, by sinking three free throws after getting fouled from 3-point range.
Holding a 29-20 advantage after the first, the Heat saw their edge dwindle down to two on West’s layup, but they closed out the half on a 10-2 run, with James and Wade each contributing scores in the final seven seconds thanks to a George turnover, putting Miami ahead 56-46.
The Heat continued to attack coming out of the break, as Chalmers buried his fourth triple five minutes into the third quarter to cap a 17-7 Miami push that expanded the Heat’s lead to 73-53 and they went on top by as many as 23 in the period.
Indiana closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run to stay within 79-65 going into the fourth, but never cut its deficit to single-digits.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from D.J. Augustin and a short jumper from Roy Hibbert had the Pacers trailing 94-82, but both players committed turnovers afterward, helping Miami score six unanswered to jump back ahead by 18 and it cruised to its 14th win in a row at home over the final four minutes of play.
Miami’s 18-game winning streak ties the sixth-longest run in league history and can match the 2008 Boston Celtics’ 19-game run with a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday … The Heat shot 55.9 percent from the field and improved to 33-2 when hitting at least 48 percent of their shots … Wade has recorded at least one steal in 21 straight games … The Pacers had not allowed a team to score 100 points on them in their previous 11 games.