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Pacers use late run to take care of Heat



INDIANAPOLIS — This time, the Indiana Pacers made it stick.

After scoring 20 straight points in the second half but failing to finish the comeback in a 92-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the Pacers earned a 106-95 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana scored 15 in a row spanning the third and fourth quarters and maintained the momentum to the finish.

Guard C.J. Miles scored a game-high 25 off the bench to lead Indiana (12-21) and guard George Hill had 20. Guard C.J. Watson contributed 11 points, forward David West 10 and center Roy Hibbert a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. The Pacers had a 52-26 advantage in bench scoring.

Indiana entered the game ranked 24th in the league with a .335 percentage from the 3-point line but made 10 of 18, including 5 of 10 from Miles. The offensive explosion started with increased defensive intensity. After yielding 58 percent shooting and 26 points in the paint in falling behind 51-42 at intermission, the Pacers held Miami to 41 percent shooting and six points in the paint the rest of the way.

“When you’re down you play with more desperation,” said Indiana coach Frank Vogel. “We’re really trying to get back to the staple of our defense of being dominant in the paint. Dialing into that commitment turned the game around.”

Guard Dwayne Wade scored 20 points and forward Chris Bosh 18 for Miami (14-19), which lost its third in a row and sixth in eight games. Forward Luol Deng scored 15.

“This last month, it’s been defined by eight minutes in a game,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “And a lot of these games we just need to figure it out and own it. We’ve talked about it enough but the third quarters have not been good for us.”

In his first game as an active player back in Indiana, Miami forward Danny Granger scored 14 off the bench.

“Strange, it was very strange,” Granger said. “The first shot I missed and I was glad to get it out of the way, then I was able to relax.”

After using the big run to take an 81-70 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers’ advantage began to slip away. A three-point play by Deng cut it to 94-88 with 3:50 left, but consecutive 3-pointers from Hill and another from Miles made it 104-91 with 1:29 left.

“We just talked about being a little bit more competitive,” said West of Indiana’s strong finish. “We were guarding but letting them go through things the way they wanted so we ratcheted up our intensity, got our hands more active. I thought we were aggressive, we took the fight to them, forced them out of their comfort zone and it got us going.”

Trailing 68-61 late in the third quarter, Indiana found energy at the 3-point line, closing the quarter on a 17-2 run fueled by a trio of 3s — two from Miles and one at the buzzer from West that gave the Pacers a 78-70 lead entering the fourth quarter. The Heat missed their final five shots from the field in the quarter.

A Watson 3-pointer pushed Indiana’s lead to 81-70 in the first minute of the fourth quarter and extended the run to 15 consecutive points.

“I don’t know where our minds are at,” said Bosh. “This is not a new trend, this has been happening all season. It is only has hard as you make it. Some of us have been in this situation before. We have to move the ball. We have to make plays consistently but after a while we go off on our own and try to do it ourselves. Hopefully we get the message.”

NOTES: Indiana has won six regular season home games in a row against Miami … This was the sixth straight games the Pacers’ bench has produced at least 40 points … Granger ranks fourth in Indiana franchise NBA history in points (9,571), fourth in scoring average (17.6) and seventh in games (544). … Granger has been hot of late, averaging 15.5 points on 24 of 34 shooting (.706) in the last four games. … The Pacers made a season-high 26 free throws, while Miami had a season-high eight blocked shots … Another former Indiana player, F Shawne Williams, was active for the Heat after missing the previous game with a sore left foot … Miami assigned PG Shabazz Napier to Sioux Falls of the D-League. … After completing a brief two-game homestand, Indiana heads back out on the road for the next four games, three against Western Conference teams. The Pacers are 5-12 on the road, 2-6 against the West. … The Heat were without F Josh McRoberts (knee) and C Justin Hamilton (concussion), while Indiana was missing F Paul George (leg) and C Ian Mahinmi (foot).

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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