INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- The Indiana Pacers managed to execute on both sides of the floor to defeat the Miami Heat by a score of 90-87. This final outcome of the game literally came down to the final seconds. Dwyane Wade missed a tightly contested three pointer from the corner with around two seconds left in the game. Wade's miss resulted in Monta Ellis grabbing a game clinching rebounding for the Pacers.
The Pacers got off to a fast start in the opening quarter. Indiana quickly jumped out to a 15-8 lead, but then the Heat called a timeout with 6:28 left in the first quarter. Miami closed the quarter on an 18-1 run following that timeout, which gave the Heat a 26-16 lead after the end of the first quarter.
Paul George had a sensational opening quarter, as he scored 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field. George was basically the only offense for the Pacers in that beginning quarter. Indiana simply got off to a slow offensive start. In fact, George was the only player on the Pacers to make more than one field goal in that first quarter.
Miami went back and force trading points with Indiana for the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter. Miami held their largest lead of the second quarter, 32-20, with exactly 10:00 left in the quarter. The next four minutes would be composed of the Pacers chipping at the Heat's lead with their bench unit. Indiana narrowed the Miami led to 45-37 with 4:11 remaining in the first half.
From the point of the Heat calling a full timeout with 4:05 remaining in the second quarter, the Pacers managed to go on a run of their own. The Pacers closed the second quarter by outscoring the Heat 12-4, which was enough to tie the game at 49. The Pacers used a 33-point second quarter to overcome their poor 16 points in scoring from the opening quarter.
It was a very tight third quarter by both teams. Neither team managed to get a lead of over five points in that third quarter. The Pacers got another big quarter from Paul George, who scored 10 points in the third quarter. This resulted in the Pacers holding a 71-68 lead after three quarters. Indiana outscored Miami 22-19 in this quarter.
Indiana had a very close concluding quarter. The Pacers and Heat both scored 19 points, resulting in the Pacers getting a three-point win. This final quarter was similar to the third quarter, because both teams traded baskets frequently, and nobody led by more than four points this quarter.
Indiana executed very well on both sides of the ball down the stretch. Paul George gave the Pacers another 11 points in the fourth quarter to give him 36 points on the night. The Pacers beat the Heat by a score of 90-87.
It is important to note that C.J. Miles did not play in this game due to a sore right ankle. Rodney Stuckey left the game in the second quarter with a rolled ankle. Stuckey was only able to play 10 minutes before suffering that injury. Joe Young and Solomon Hill were both healthy scratches.
Paul George led the Pacers by recording;
38 MIN, 36 PTS, 14-27 FGM-A, 2-6 3PM-A, 6-8 FTM-A, 12 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 0 PF, +8 (+/-).
Paul George on how he currently feels in the team's new offense (via Pacers.com):
"I think I'm getting more comfortable with the offense," George said. "Tonight, from the tip I got a quick layup and felt good from there on. And then I got rolling in the second half."
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel when asked if he's surprised about Paul George's recent play (via Pacers.com):
"I'm not really surprised. He's been doing this since mid-summer and he works, works, and works. Nothing surprises me."
Paul George scored 30-plus points for the first time since March 15, 2014.
George Hill was the only other starter to score in double figures, he recorded:
40 MIN, 12 PTS, 3-6 FGM-A, 3-5 3PM-A, 3-5 FTM-A, 0 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 PF, +12 (+/-)
George Hill on Paul George's impressive performance (via Pacers.com):
"When you see a guy rolling, you've got to milk the cow when the cow is there," said George Hill. "When a guy is rolling like that, you've got to keep feeding him until that well is dry."
Monta Ellis played an important role in lane penetration against this Heat defense, he recorded:
36 MIN, 4 PTS, 2-8 FGM-A, 0-2 3PM-A, 0-0 FTM-A, 0 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 1 PF, +7 (+/-).
Jordan Hill provided a key spark off of the bench and gave the Pacers energy, quality defensive rotations, and a high offensive motor. Hill also recorded (via Pacers.com):
24 MIN, 10 PTS, 5-10 FGM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 0-0 FTM-A, 10 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 2 PF, +13 (+/-)
Jordan Hill discussed his performance against the Heat (via Pacers.com):
"I tried to box my man out at the right place, at the right time. I saw it coming so I just went up and tipped it back in," Hill said. "I'm just having fun, playing basketball and doing everything I can do to help my team win and help me get better. It was a rough start at the beginning but we banded together. We're learning the system, learning how to play together, to play for each other and it's coming out good."
Despite missing two easy layups, Lavoy Allen had an impressive performance. Here is how Lavoy Allen did:
23 MIN, 2-4 FGM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 0-2 FTM-A, 5 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 PF, +23 (+/-)
Ian Mahinmi did a solid job against the Heat as well, he recorded:
25 MIN, 6 PTS, 3-8 FGM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 0-2 FTM-A, 6 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 3 PF, +10 (+/-).
Rodney Stuckey' was having a solid game prior to his injury, here were his statistics:
10 MIN, 6 PTS, 3-6 FGM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 0-0 FTM-A, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 PF, -12 (+/-)
Chase Budinger struggled to contribute against the Heat, his stats were:
15 MIN, 3 PTS, 0-2 FGM-A, 0-2 3PM-A, 3-5 FTM-A, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 1 PF, -26 (+/-)
Myles Turner had a rough game against Miami, here were his stats:
15 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-4 FGM-A, 0-0 3PM-A, 0-0 FTM-A, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 PF, -22 (+/-)
As a team, the Pacers played terrific defense in almost every aspect. There were times where the Pacers simply couldn't handle individual matchups, but even then, they frequently forced the Heat to take difficult shot attempts. Their defense is still a work in progress, as it was noticeable considering the fact that there were a few possessions that the Pacers didn't make proper defensive rotations. That resulted in a few easy baskets for Miami, but overall it was a quality defensive game. The players are still learning the timing and spacing of their defensive rotations, so again, it is still a work in progress.
Just like their defense, the Pacers' offense is still a work in progress. Indiana did a great job of setting up open shot opportunities for their shooters, but there were a few cold stretches where the team simply couldn't get anything going. With C.J. Miles out for the whole game and Rodney Stuckey only being able to play for 10 minutes, the Pacers missed their offensive production. Indiana's bench, outside of Stuckey and Robinson struggled offensively, but the starting unit did a quality job on the offensive side of the ball. Indiana is still getting used to playing with one another, as well as getting used to the timing and spacing of their new offense.
Chase Budinger and Myles Turner were the only Pacers that really struggled in this game. Turner had a nightmare matchup against Chris Bosh, so that is understandable. But Budinger did not have a difficult situation, and he should have been able to perform significantly better. It appears that Robinson III will soon be able to take over Budinger's role in the second unit for the Pacers. Indiana just needs more time so they can find ways to frequently put their players in comfortable situations that they can succeed with.
Indiana recorded the following team stats:
90 PTS, 36-80 (45.0%) FGM-A, 5-15 (33.3%) 3PM-A, 13-24 (54.2%) FTM-A, 9 OREB, 34 DREB, 43 REB, 21 AST, 4 STL, 5 BLK, 12 TO, 15 PF.
The Pacers also had six fast break points, 30 points in the paint, and they allowed 18 points off turnovers.
Miami recorded the following team stats:
87 PTS, 36-81 (44.4%) FGM-A, 6-20 (30.0%) 3PM-A, 9-13 (69.2%) FTM-A, 7 OREB, 33 DREB, 40 REB, 21 AST, 5 STL, 6 BLK, 11 TO, 19 PF.
The Heat also had eight fast break points, 44 points in the paint, and they allowed nine points off turnovers.
Following this win over the Miami Heat, both the Heat and Pacers are now 3-3 on the season. Indiana currently holds the tie breaker between the two since they won. It is still a very young season, but the Pacers currently find themselves in the seventh spot in the East, which is very intriguing for a team like the Pacers. The Pacers have now won three consecutive games.