Pacers beat Heat with 2nd-half run

Third quarter proves pivotal as 15-0 spurt leads to home win.

This time, an impressive Indiana Pacers run didn’t go to waste.

Two days after losing at home to Chicago despite a 20-0 spurt, the Pacers rallied behind a 15-0 stretch to defeat the Miami Heat 106-95 Wednesday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers (12-21) appeared to be on the path to another defeat when the Heat (14-19) took an 11-point lead early in the third quarter. But that suddenly changed after Miami had a 70-66 advantage.

C.J. Miles sank a 3-pointer, C.J. Watson made four foul shots then David West hit shots on back-to-back possessions, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the Pacers closed the third quarter with a 12-0 run.

Watson opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer — the Pacers made a season-high 10-out-18 (56.5 percent) — and the Heat never got closer than a six-point deficit down the stretch.

“When you’re down, you play with a little more desperation,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “We came out in the third quarter and forced them to beat us over the top. They only got two points in the paint.”

The Heat had scored 26 points in the paint in the first half. The Pacers tied their best scoring output for a quarter with a 36-19 advantage in the third. They hit 13-of-19 shots (68.4 percent).

Miles again led a strong bench effort with a game-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers on eight attempts. The Pacers’ bench outscored the Heat’s reserves 50-26. The Pacers’ reserves, who were responsible for the 20-0 run against the Bulls, have scored 40 or more points in six consecutive games and in 12 of the past 14 games.

“We just continue to fight, and play hard,” Miles said. “We know this game is a game of runs. We know we can get out there and compete. Everybody out there on that floor can make a play and help our team. When we get out there and just fight and play with confidence, we give ourselves a chance.”

Point guard George Hill had 20 points as the Pacers improved to 3-2 with him in the lineup. Watson had 11 points off the bench. Starters David West and Roy Hibbert each scored 10.

“I just thought we got a little bit more active,” West said of the third-quarter turnaround. “Our defense got us more aggressive and got us out running and moving. It lead to some easy baskets for us. We were able to stop them from stringing a run together.”

The Heat’s Dwyane Wade led the visitors with 20 points. Chris Bosh added 18. Former Pacer Danny Granger had 14 off the bench.

“We can sit here and talk all we want, but the proof is in your actions,” Bosh said. “We gave up 36 points, no offense to the Pacers but they’re a team that doesn’t usually get 36 points in a quarter. I don’t know where our minds are at. This is not a new trend, this has been happening all season.”

As Bosh observed, scoring outbursts haven’t happened enough for the Pacers. But they’ve scored more lately, at least 100 in six of nine games. The Pacers have won four of six.

“We’re coming along,” said Hill, who missed the first 28 games with a left leg contusion. “It’s been a bumpy road so far with injuries and things like that. It’s going to take time to get rhythm and gel but we’re moving in the right direction.”

The Pacers embark on a four-game road trip with a Friday visit to Milwaukee (16-16), Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers (10-22), Monday at the Utah Jazz (11-21) and Wednesday at the Golden State Warriors (25-5). The next home game is against the Boston Celtics (11-18) on Friday, Jan. 9.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.


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