The Indiana Pacers climb back in the win column with a come-from-behind victory over the Miami Heat. The Pacers led most of the night and did a solid job keeping the Heat at arm’s length for much of that time, but an eight point lead halfway through the fourth wasn’t enough to coast on, as the Heat scored nine straight points on threes to take a 94-93 lead with four minutes remaining.
After Paul George and Dion Waiters traded ensuing buckets, Jeff Teague helped push the Pacers back into the lead. Myles Turner came to life from there, scoring the next four for the Pacers to help them towards the victory with a big offensive rebound and dunk.
Turner broke out of his slump of late by notching his first double figure game in five games. Turner had nine of his 15 in the first quarter and closed strong. He did only shoot 4-14 from the floor though, but with five offensive rebounds as part of eight total, he got plenty of opportunities, going a perfect 7-7 from the line.
As a team, the Pacers were 27-32 from the free throw line, outscoring Miami by 16, a margin that helped them withstand 19 offensive rebounds from the Heat and the late barrage of threes as well. The Pacers had just 12 assists, but weren’t set on relying on them either by outscoring Miami 16-0 in fast break points.
Paul George led the way for the Pacers with 28 points and 10 assists, scoring half of those in the third quarter. The Pacers needed every point to keep the Heat from staging a comeback in the third, with each George bucket pushing the game to a three possession lead.
Thaddeus Young’s wrist isn’t expected to heal during the season, but he’s slowly adjusting to it by remaining effective despite not being a jump shooting threat any longer. At 5-9 from the floor, he was the only Pacers starter to shoot above 50%, and even shot 50% at the free throw line, hitting three of his six attempts, a major step up for someone who had missed all seven of his attempts since returning.
Indiana’s bench didn’t offer up much in the way of scoring (though Rodney Stuckey and Monta Ellis each hit a three pointer), but as has been the case when he’s played, the flow of the second unit is vastly improved when Rakeem Christmas gets on the floor. Christmas had seven points, scoring four of those on three offensive rebounds.
The Pacers continue to alternate wins and losses, moving to 5-4 since the All-Star Break. The unpredictability has become a predictable staple of the Pacers this season, and the win/loss trend could consider with consistency as Indiana alternate their next five games between the road and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
They won’t be given a better road win opportunity for some time than on Tuesday when they face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. At 11-22 on the road, however, they’ve shown that there is no real “win opportunity” for this team, making each win down the stretch that much more important.