Notebook: Heat 98, Pacers 86
April 12, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
NBA PRESS RELEASE
THE FACT: The Miami Heat improved to 18-10 in games without guard Dwyane Wade.
THE LEAD: The Miami Heat regained the top seed in the Eastern Conference after defeating the Indiana Pacers 98-86 Friday at American Airlines Arena.
LeBron James led all scorers with 36 points, six rebounds and five assists, allowing the Heat to even the season series at 2. Miami leads the race by a half game. The Heat led most of the way before taking control early in the third quarter.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Heat, including Mario Chalmers (13 points), Chris Bosh (10), Ray Allen (10) and Udonis Haslem (11). Miami led by many as 23 in the second half before the Pacers made a run to start the fourth quarter.
The Heat eventually pulled away with a 16-0 run. The Pacers were led by Paul George's 22 points.
QUOTABLE: "That was a residual of how we were playing in the first half. The first half was a heck of a half. Both teams were competing. Our defense was on point, with the deflections, the pressure, the rotations. In the second half, we just continued with that pressure and finally broke it open."
THE STAT: The Heat out-rebounded the Pacers 40-31, holding the Pacers center Roy Hibbert to just one rebound.
TURNING POINT: The Heat took control with a 16-0 run in the third quarter.
QUOTABLE II: "Give the Heat a lot of credit, their defensive pressure was extraordinary and they played a terrific basketball game, created 10 more shots for themselves and nine more free-throw attempts and were more assertive. We shot the ball pretty well, took care of it better in the second half, but 10 turnovers in the first half and then all of the run-outs, particularly in the third quarter, was a big difference. The third quarter was too much for us to overcome."
HOT: Once again, James did most of the heavy lifting. He made an effort from the start to get things going offensively. He scored 14 of the Heat's first 23 points and never looked back. James was also solid on defense against Paul George and Lance Stephenson.
NOT: Hibbert was an absolute non-factor for the Pacers. He couldn't score at the offensive end, but it was surprising to see him have little impact defensively. The Heat were able to produce points on the interior with ease, a rarity in games featuring Hibbert.
GOOD MOVE: Udonis Haslem was solid defensively all game against Hibbert. He was hardly the dominant player who controlled the Heat during last year's Eastern Conference finals. The Heat may have found their "Hibbert-stopper" should the teams meet again.
BAD MOVE: The Pacers made their strongest push to start the fourth quarter, but the effort was wasted by allowing nine straight easy points. The run killed all the momentum Indiana had gained and it started with Evan Turner being called for a technical during a timeout.
NOTABLE: Wade (hamstring) and center Greg Oden (back) missed their ninth straight games. There is a chance Wade could miss the remainder of the regular season. ... Haslem is now the franchise leader in offensive rebounds, passing Alonzo Mourning.
UP NEXT: For the Heat, Saturday @ Hawks, Monday @ Wizards, Wednesday vs. Sixers. For the Pacers, Sunday vs. Thunder, Wednesday @ Magic.