Miami Sports Day

NBA: George Helps Pacers Outlast Heat

INDIANAPOLIS –– The Indiana Pacers had been in control of the lead against Miami since midway through the first quarter.  Then the Pacers nearly saw it slip away. Fortunately for Indiana, the Pacers finished strong to hold off the Heat 102-98 on Sunday night.

Indiana forward Paul George scored 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds to propel the Pacers (34-32).

“We finished it, that’s something we build on,” George said. “But we didn’t want to give up 3s when that’s all they needed at the point. That’s an area we can clean up on giving up what teams needs, which was 3s at that point. You got to see the positive we held on to the lead and won the game.”

With the Pacers leading 93-85, the Heat went on a 9-0 run on two 3-pointers by Wayne Ellington and one by James

Johnson to take the lead. Ellington’s 3-pointer put Miami ahead 94-93 with 4:10 to go. Pacers coach Nate McMillan called a timeout eight seconds later.

“We just needed to settle down,” McMillan said. “They made a run and were able to take the lead. You could feel the air go out of the building. We needed to settle down and stay with the game plan. Defensively keep that team in front of us and rebound. Offensively, we wanted to take advantage of the matchups. Paul had a hot hand and wanted to make sure we got the ball in his heads.”

George hit a 20-foot jumper to put the Pacers back in front.

After the Heat’s Dion Waiters scored, Jeff Teague put the Pacers back on top for good at 97-96 with a running jumper. That started a 7-0 run.

Myles Turner hit two free throws with 1:38 left to push the lead to 99-96. After a Miami miss, Turner missed a layup but grabbed his own rebound and scored on a dunk to make it 101-96.

Turner chipped in with 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers.

The Miami Heat (32-35) played without leading scorer Goran Dragic (20.1 points), who was sidelined with an orbital contusion in his right eye.

Dragic took an elbow to his right eye during the victory at Toronto on Saturday night. He originally expected to play, but his right eye swelled to the point it was completely shut.

Hassan Whiteside led the Heat with 26 points and 21 rebounds. The 7-foot center tied his career high with 10 offensive rebounds.

“We still played hard,” Whiteside said. “It would have been easy to come in here and make excuses,” Whiteside said. “Guys didn’t care if we got in at 4 a.m., guys came here and played hard I love these guys.”

Waiters added 20 points and Ellington had 19 for Miami.

“They made more plays down the stretch,” Miami coach Erik Spolestra said. “I thought Paul George played like great players do.”

C.J. Miles sank a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Pacers a 60-53 halftime lead. Indiana increased its lead slightly to 83-75 after three quarters.

 NOTES: Miami had won the first two games with Indiana this season, both at Miami. The Pacers have won 10 straight home games over the Heat. … After starting the season 11-30, the Heat are 21-5 in the second half. … Miami C Hassan Whiteside ran his string of at least one blocked shot in a game to 23. … The Pacers are 17-4 when holding opponents to under 100 points

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